Charitable JCU Students To Aid Vanuatu Appeal

Courtesy of CNN

College of Arts, Society and Education (CASE) French Language students are holding a fundraiser next week to raise funds for the people of Vanuatu, after Tropical Cyclone Pam tore through the pacific region last month.

By Rachel Lang

Isolated island communities were left devastated when the category five cyclone ripped through the archipelago, displacing up to 70 per cent of Vanuatu’s population.

The small island nation has three official languages: English, Bislama and French.

JCU’s French lecturer, Florence Boulard, says that her third and fourth year language students have organised a charity dinner to raise funds for the Red Cross Vanuatu Appeal.

“The Language students at James Cook University have been moved by the devastation of Cyclone Pam and its impact on the life of the people of Vanuatu,” says Madame Boulard.

“When it made the front page of the news that Vanuatu was badly damaged with the cyclone, we talked about it… and then we thought ‘Okay, what can we do?’

DEVASTATION: A man in Vanuatu assesses the damage after TC Pam. SOURCE: Getty Images

DEVASTATION: A man in Vanuatu assesses the damage after TC Pam. SOURCE: Getty Images

“It fits in with the JCU’s strategic intent, which is to make a difference in the lives of people living in the tropics.”

In addition to raising much-needed donations for the people of Vanuatu, the students hope to raise awareness of this part of the world.

Third year language student, Toby Campbell, is one of the organisers of the charity dinner.

Toby says that it is essential for Australians to be aware of our pacific neighbours.

“People who choose to study at JCU are people of the tropics and, as a JCU student, there should be an awareness of the issues of those who live in the tropics,” Toby says.

“We organised [the charity dinner] with the help of the language coordinator in order to raise awareness of our smaller pacific neighbours, as it seems they only come into our view when something happens to them, such as Cyclone Pam.

“Hopefully the prizes we’ve obtained for the raffle can help with that awareness.”

Students have organised an assortment of raffle prizes for the dinner, including two return airfares to Port Villa, generously donated by Air Vanuatu.

The money raised for the Red Cross will help those trying to rebuild in the wake of the cyclone.

CEO of Vanuatu Red Cross, Jacqueline De Gaillande, says that the next step one month on from Cyclone Pam is to support community recovery.

“This will include helping people to build stronger houses, repairing community water sources and continuing to build on community resilience through health education, hygiene promotion and first aid training,” Ms De Galliande says.

The charity dinner will take place at the Townsville Yacht Club on Thursday 30th April starting from 6:30pm. Register here by the 24th of April to attend.

One month on from Tropical Cyclone Pam, the Red Cross has already provided significant aid for the disaster stricken communities of Vanuatu.  Video courtesy of the Red Cross.