I love this shot. Girls we support in class, lessons in a tent against the backdrop of their school, now without a roof, many rooms destroyed, books and desks ripped apart, windows smashed; the end result resembles an explosion in the aftermath of Cyclone Winston.
But life goes on, it must, a new normal is being established in the rubble. Post disasters and trauma this is vital to help people recover and move forward and find the strength to rebuild.
Last week, our team member Kym who is a chaplain, visited our Coordinator Urmila and the community we work with to sit with them and listen to the recount of the night of the storm, the fear, the injuries, the homes that were lost, livelihoods destroyed.
She also visited the schools we work with and was accompanied by photographer Georgie Adams, whose images we have been sharing on social media this weekend. Georgie snapped the Girls learning in the tent and it’s one of our favourites – Girls valuing education when it would be easier for them to be at home helping mum and dad rebuild and clean up.
One of the best stories to come from our assessment team in the week after the cyclone was when we heard that so many of our Girls, when they knew the cyclone was coming, had grabbed their books and uniforms and put them in a plastic bag to protect them from damage. Many items were still destroyed but they knew they needed to try and keep their school things safe, education is their way out of the poverty cycle and into the kind of future they dream about.
What we are doing to help with recovery and how you can be involved:
• We have a general appeal open which we are using to respond to needs as they arise. So far we have sent funds for food and water, medicines, torches, clothing, bedding and travel funds for people to be able to get around. We have covered expenses for volunteers to be able to carry out assessments of the 60 Girls and their families, and have begun the task of replacing materials for income generating projects such as chickens and chicken coops.
• Our great friends the German International School Sydney are raising funds to rebuild our Coordinator, Urmila’s house which was completely destroyed. She and her family are living in a tent without electricity and with limited clean water. This is their link.
• In 8 weeks (eek! Fitness levels!) I will be trekking across Fiji to raise funds for life to get back to normal, this money will help mums re-establish small businesses, provide solar lamps, help replace glasses that or fill prescription medications that were lost or are now needed due to injuries that have been sustained. That sort of thing, these little things that make a big difference to quality of life often get overlooked in disaster responses. Click here to support this.
We are grateful for this community of people that rises to support both Girls’ education and the dignity of their mums and dads to be able to provide this themselves.
Jane for team ‘ a Girl & her world’
If you would like to see more of Georgie’s work, visit www.following-clover.com