The Westwood International School last Friday donated a cheque amounting to P23 000 to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the proceedings of which will go to Haitian victims who were affected by the January 12 2010 earthquake.
The earthquake reached a magnitude of 7.0 on the Richter scale, and affected at least 3 million people, leaving 1.5 million people homeless.
The number of dead is estimated to be between 92,000 and 230, 000 people, making it the 5th deadliest earthquake.
At least 1.5 children were among those affected by the earthquake and students at the Westwood International School took note.
The school raised the funds through a sponsored walk on February 24th at the school.
According to Banyaka Moyo, a student in the international Baccalaureate Diploma Programme and initiator of the sponsored walk, the walk lasted two hours within the school perimeter.
Moyo told Sunday Standard, that “the walk started at 7:15 and two hours later we proceeded to class because it was a business day and teachers wanted to teach. The funds were then collected in the weeks following after the 24th, and what we handed over to UNICEF was what we raised over the two weeks,” said Moyo.
She said that only students took part in the walk and fund raising. Moyo also revealed that she initiated the activity because she realized that Batswana were not “really doing anything about the call for relief for Haiti victims”.
“I then decided that maybe we should contribute something and that’s when I talked to one of the teachers, Mrs. Williams, to come up with a fundraising idea,” she asserted.
When handing over the cheque to Marcus Betts, the UNICEF representative, Moyo said, “As human beings, it is imperative that we respond to disasters such as these that affect millions of people. This incident is especially relevant to us as a school, as the earthquake took the lives of many children.”
Moyo added that human beings have an innate obligation to lend a hand to people who have been struck by misfortune.
“This was an opportunity to assist the victims of Haiti, as we remember those who have fallen and, most importantly, to celebrate those that survived,” she said.
Moyo revealed the activities were one of the most difficult activities to initiate as they were activities that involved the whole school, and also encompassing external bodies like UNICEF and the Gaborone City Council.
It was worthwhile, she said.
“When Haiti recovers, and we trust and believe that it will, you will have had an everlasting impact on that recovery; you will have contributed to that change, to that transformation. So, students, feel proud this is your moment,” Moyo told students congregated at the school hall on the day.
Marcus Betts commended Westwood for the effort in raising the funds, and also thanked the students for choosing UNICEF to channel the money through.
Betts said that UNICEF was working tirelessly in Haiti to help reconcile children with their families, and to protect the vulnerable children against disease, malnutrition and other factors they may fall prey to as children.
Botswana is one of the countries that responded to the Haitian catastrophe and donated P1 million for humanitarian purposes.