Fundraising efforts for people being affected by Cyclone Pam
To support the fundraising efforts currently been undertaken for the people affected by Cyclone Pam, Five Boys Clothing have organised for the production of two t-shirts to be sold with all the profits being split between immediate aid relief for Vanuatu, and clean water for Kiribati.
Why we are doing this appeal
Sophia Walsh, co-founder of Five Boys Clothing, has roots in the Pacific; so this important cause is very close to her heart. Sophia is half I-Kiribati (the term used to describe a person from the country of Kiribati) and still has many aunts, uncles, cousins and friends living in the far-flung, low-lying beautiful island of Kiribati and across the Pacific.
Sophia, aged 8. Middle of the second row from the top.
In accordance with I Kiribati tradition the extended family mostly live as a Kainga – all the siblings (and my mother was one of ten) live together, with their children and grandchildren, and now great grandchildren.
The last time we were all there together in 2003. Sophia lived in Kiribati for one year in 1999.
In the past few weeks, Sophia and others from the I-Kiribati community have found it increasingly more difficult to establish good communication channels with their family in Kiribati. Sometimes they hear bits of information but mostly at second hand from relatives that live in New Zealand or Hawaii and who managed to make contact.
What they have heard consistently over the past few months is that the king tides that naturally occur at this time of year have been the biggest that they have ever known.
The geography of Kiribati means any small changes in sea-level can have an enormous effect.
Kiribati comprises three archipelagos in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, with 32 atolls and 1 ‘raised atoll’. Together they span an area greater than the United States. The island groups straddle the equator; Kiribati is the only nation in the world to have land in both the Northern, Southern, Western and Eastern Hemispheres. With the sole exception of the raised atoll, there is nowhere in Kiribati more than 2m above the sea level.
The islands are very narrow and low-lying. Tarawa, the atoll from which Sophia's mother comes and which is the capital, is a long thin strip of land in the shape of a triangle. The east and southern bits of this are land – essentially coral storm beaches – while the west side is a reef submerged except at low tide.
When there is a freak high tide, it creeps up and across the island, spilling into and contaminating fresh water wells.
Due to the low lying position of the atolls of Kiribati, small changes in weather conditions have a big effect; severe changes in weather conditions have a disastrous effect. Global warming is causing severe and consistent damage to the islands, with a particular emphasis on fresh water supplies because the rise in sea levels causes increased salination of ground water.
Sophia's family has one well that hasn't been contaminated - but while on Tarawa the effects of the Cyclone have been containable, the three southermost Gilbert islands of Nikunau, Arorae and Tamana (all very much places where people live off the land and have few resources) have been badly hit. Read here.
When the Cyclone arrived in the Pacific bringing destruction, devastation and new levels of anxiety to those that care,
we realised that to do nothing is really wrong, and that things only happen if you make them happen. So here’s using what we know how to do to try and help – and there are plans for it to be a continuing effort.
The t-shirt design has been kindly provided by Louise Coughlan of Pala Mino and hand screen printed by Victory Print Shop. It will be available in both white and navy with either gold or grey print for both children (£10, ages 4-12) and adult (£14, small, medium and large). To buy a t-shirt, please click here.
All profits from the sales of our t-shirts will go out to help to support the disaster relief in Vanuatu and Kiribati, and in particular to support fundraising efforts to buy a desalination machine through The Island Rescue Project.
To get up to date news on how they’re doing and details of the how they are getting urgently needed water to the outer islands and how they are raising funds to afford and transport a desalination machine, follow them on Facebook. We'll also post regular updates here.
If you would like to sell the t-shirt or require more information please contact Sophia directly on firstname.lastname@example.org
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