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July 11, 2011 | by  | in News | [ssba]

Vic students lend a hand in Chch

A group of Victoria students spent four days of their study break helping the recovery effort in earthquake-stricken Christchurch. An experience which VUWSA Welfare Officer Ta’ase Vaoga says saw some participants holding back tears.

Organised by VUWSA, the group assisted Port Hills MP Ruth Dyson and List MP Nicky Wagner around their constituency.
“This involved door knocking, chatting with residents, and checking they had applied for grants and assistance that they might be entitled to,” Vaoga said.

The team also spent a day with the Student Volunteer Army from Canterbury and Lincoln Universities, removing silt from properties in areas where liquefaction had occurred.

Ms Vaoga says it was a rewarding task, and that many of the students had lengthy conversations with residents about the challenges they are facing.

“We helped a woman who is currently undergoing chemotherapy and dealing with a silt ridden backyard,” she says.

“I also met someone who had lost someone close in the Pike River mine disaster. So the emotional impact was very real for us and for those we helped out.”

She says VUWSA is grateful to Strait Shipping’s Bluebridge for providing them with free travel.

VUWSA President Seamus Brady notes that this is not the first time Victoria students have helped Christchurch residents. “Following the February 22 earthquake, VUWSA ran a campus donation drive during our Orientation,” he says.

The week-long fundraiser earlier in the year raised over $7000 for the Student Volunteer Army.


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