LOCAL support and money raised for students in Japan has made a big difference to young earthquake survivors, says a local teacher, who works there.
Several local fundraisers helped raise $9,400, which went to assist people to get back on their feet after the fatal 8.9 magnitude earthquake, tsunami and nuclear plant failure March 11, 2011.
After she came home to Terrace, Katherine Geeraert, who is and was living in Soma about 175 km from the quake epicentre, organized the Friends of Soma group to help gather donations for her students and their families and is pleased with the results.
“Also extremely important to rebuilding communities in Japan is in repairing hearts and minds of the people,” says Geeraert.
“One way we’ve tried to help with this is through pictures. Children from schools in Terrace and Kitimat drew hundreds of pictures which I brought to local schools.”
A display of photographs that Caledonia students put together for the high school where she works was put up last June and students and teachers still stop to look at them, she says.
“…so we have been able to connect the students here (in Japan) with those back home in that way, and it has been really important for children and students here to know that there are specific people around the world who are thinking about them with hope and positive wishes,” says Geeraert.
Out of the money raised here, $6,500 went to sports and school supplies for Soma Higashi High school students studying at the school and from schools evacuated in the “no go zone” around the nuclear power plant; $1,200 went to the Soma Disaster Orphan Scholarship Fund; $800 went to purchase mittens and warm socks for children at Soma Children’s Home; $50 for art supplies for Soma Children’s Home and $850 is being used to buy supplies for Shinchi Nursery School.