An underwater volcano near Tonga erupted on 15 January 2021 causing significant damage to the western coast of Tonga’s main island of Tongatapu, wiping out buildings, power, communications and water supplies.
UP Education coordinated an organisation-wide giving scheme to raise funds for the Red Cross Pacific Tsunami Appeal, a special task force set up by New Zealand Red Cross to provide emergency aid for the people of Tonga.
Embodying the Tongan phrase ‘Tokoni ki ha taha ‘oku fiema‘u ho‘o tokoni | Use your gifts to serve others,’ the New Zealand Tongan community rallied to create a family-to-family donation scheme alongside other New Zealanders.
Although local efforts helped boost supplies, it was clear from the scale of impact across Tonga that a coordinated international response was needed to help in the community’s long-term recovery.
“With a large Tongan student cohort across UP Education providers, it was important for us to do our part,” says Mark Rushworth, UP Education Group CEO.
The day after the Tsunami in Tonga, UP Education set up the Pacific Tsunami Appeal to boost relief efforts. As part of the workplace giving scheme, staff could nominate to make a donation of their chosen amount which would then be doubled by UP Education.
“As an education provider, we understand the immense power of giving a helping hand to those that need it most.”
“Over a couple of weeks, UP Education raised thousands of dollars for the Red Cross Tsunami Appeal, showing the immense support and care our workforce have for the Tongan community.”
New Zealand Red Cross plans to fund and supply food, fresh water, and emergency supplies, as well as a satellite communications platform to support phone and internet connections, which have been severely affected across the Tongan islands.
Over $730,000 has been raised internationally for the Red Cross Pacific Tsunami Appeal.
The New Zealand Red Cross says assistance of supplies and personnel have been made possible by the phenomenal response of organisations like UP Education.