© New Zealand Broadcasting School 2021

Local charity to send resources to Vanuatu in response to Cyclone Harold

Pierre Nixon
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Computers in Tongan High Schools, 2006  ecocare.org.nz/

University of Canterbury students are teaming up with EcoCARE, a New Zealand registered, non-profit, charitable organisation supporting health, education and the environment.

EcoCare CEO, Russell Taylor explains EcoCare

The charity started in 2004, after a group of Kiwi friends, including CEO of EcoCARE Russell Taylor, went for a holiday in Tonga. 

While there they fell in love with the country but were struck by the many issues negatively impacting the health and wellbeing of the Tongan people and their environment. 

 “We were a group of concerned individuals trying to find a way to have a positive impact on the world we live in,” Taylor told Metronews. 

“The idea of the trust is to act in impoverished communities in working ways for them to become more sustainable in how they live in their everyday environment.”

EcoCare is primarily focused on educational, environmental and medical issues, looking to fulfil needs and create sustainable solutions in these key areas.

Working with postgraduate students from the University of Canterbury, EcoCare works to aid countries in need with recycled and repurposed hospital beds and schooling equipment. 

Currently, EcoCARE is working on a project to send a 40ft container full of equipment to schools in Vanuatu badly affected by Cyclone Harold last year. 

The cyclone caused widespread destruction in the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Fiji, and Tonga. 

Vanuatu Red Cross Society estimated as many as 1,000 people were housed in evacuation centres, with approximately a third of the population said to have been impacted by the storm across seven islands.

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On April 6 2020 Tropical Cyclone Harold struck the Northern Islands of Vanuatu. https://ecocare.org.nz/

Taylor believes Kiwis must be educated on issues as teaching can help “guarantee sustainable development and responsible use of the natural resources in our area of the world”.

“I think we are a fortunate nation, we are relatively well-off, a lot of people in the world don’t live in the conditions we do,” Taylor said.

“These sorts of programmes are based around the idea that education and capabilities can enable people living in these positions to move beyond their current situation into more of a sustainable way of living,” Taylor said. 

The organisation has worked on numerous projects since it began, ranging from a safe water project in the islands of Ha’apai, Tonga, to a renewable energy programme, also in Tonga.

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Safe water is a basic requirement and right of all people yet sadly for many people it is not always available. https://ecocare.org.nz/

Taylor said The Vanuatu project still required $5000 in funding.

To send the 40ft container of school equipment to Vanuatu, it will cost around $12,000.

EcoCare has raised around $6000 already but Taylor is urging for community donation to help speed up the project.