Schools rally to tsunami cause

Birmingham primary raises pound;2,000 in a day for victims. Sue Whitehead reports

Schools are being encouraged to take part in a national day of fundraising for the victims of the tsunami in Asia.

Many have already raised thousands of pounds. Robin Hood primary's response was typical of many who have acted following the disaster, which has so far claimed 150,000 lives and left millions homeless.

The 420-pupil school in Birmingham raised pound;2,033 in a day by putting on juggling displays, not wearing uniform and holding special assemblies.

Three teachers are among the missing. As The TES went to press Hannah Tugwell, of the Marlborough centre for autistic children in Hoo, Kent; Susan Ford, head of languages at Withins high school, Bolton, and Carole Fairbairn, former head of Coworth Park school in Surrey, were still unaccounted for.

School Aid Day, on January 21, is being co-ordinated by Lincolnshire council. To date more than 1,000 schools in 17 local education authorities have pledged to hold money-raising events including jumble sales, dance and drama shows and competitions.

Cheryle Berry, the county's director of education, said the day would be just the beginning. She hopes that schools will make a long-term commitment by twinning with schools in the area or by getting their education authority to adopt a school.

She said: "Beyond January 21 we want to keep working with education authorities to provide books, equipment and teachers."

School staff who were caught in the disaster are now telling their stories.

Sisters Liz and Katy Wood, who are both teachers, said goodbye to each other when they thought they were going to die after the waves hit their third-floor hotel room in Sri Lanka.

Liz, 31, a science teacher in London, said: "We were trapped by the water and said our goodbyes to each other." Katy, 27, a teacher in Folkestone, Kent, said: "The wave subsided and the hotel started shaking because the first floor had gone in the impact."

Haidee Halsey, a teacher at Arbury primary, Cambridge, was on holiday with her husband and four friends on the island of Phi Phi, Thailand, when the waves struck. She was in her room on the second floor of the hotel when friends on the top floor phoned and said "Get up here". The warning could have saved Haidee's life as the 40 foot-high wave hit the second floor and washed out the entire contents of their hotel room.

For more information on School Aid Day visit Cross: Nation has produced a lesson plan which can be downloaded from the Children's resources: International 20

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