AFTER COMING home from earthquake-ravaged Japan last month, Katherine Geeraert wanted to do something to help her students and their families there.
To that end, she has started the website Friends of Soma where people can go to donate money, which all goes to families of the students at Soma Higashi High School, where Geeraert has taught since last year.
“In my time in Soma, I have been blessed with great friends, students, and have even been unofficially adopted by an amazing family. Before, during, and in the time that has followed since the Earthquake, my friends, colleagues, and students have shown great kindness, strength, generosity, and patience,” she said on her Facebook page Friends of Soma and on the website.
“The effects of the 9.0 magnitude earthquake have been extreme throughout North Eastern Japan. In Soma, the Earthquake caused a 7.5 meter tsunami that destroyed much of the Soma Bay area and the surrounding neighbourhoods.
“As a result of these disasters, many students have either lost their homes and belongings, or are unable to return to their homes because of the 30 km evacuation zone. Many of their parents have lost their jobs as a result of the either the extreme, detrimental effects of the Tsunami, or because their jobs are also within that 30 km radius. These students need simple necessities to return to school and to begin rebuilding their lives with their families.” Geeraert plans to return to Soma next month to deliver donations to her students and return to work at the high school.
She began Friends of Soma, “a grassroots fundraising group,” with her father, who will continue with it when she goes back to Japan.
Donations can be made at www.somafriends.com or at RBC Royal Bank c/o Katherine Geeraert – Branch 003.