Panel show fundraiser for traumatised children after earthquakes

Rotary Club of Blenheim South members, from left, Tony Smale, Ian Bond and Laurie Saunders hope to raise $100,000 to ...
RICKY WILSON/STUFF

Rotary Club of Blenheim South members, from left, Tony Smale, Ian Bond and Laurie Saunders hope to raise $100,000 to help children affected by the earthquakes.

Children in Marlborough struggling with emotional trauma after several years on shaky ground are to get a helping hand.

Rotary Club of Blenheim South hopes to raise $100,000 to help children in worst-affected areas get back to leading "normal" lives after the Kaikoura and Seddon earthquakes.

Organisers hope a special panel presentation at the ASB Theatre in Blenheim will raise $15,000 to kick-off the crucial campaign.

Rotary committee director Ian Bond says small communities are struggling to cope.

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"There are many children who are suffering emotional and psychological trauma and there are many who have displaced along with their families from their homes and are in temporary accommodation.

Rotary Club of Blenheim South members, from left, Tony Smale, Ian Bond and Laurie Saunders who hope see seats filled at ...
RICKY WILSON/STUFF

Rotary Club of Blenheim South members, from left, Tony Smale, Ian Bond and Laurie Saunders who hope see seats filled at the ASB Theatre in Blenheim.

"It's been well established following earthquakes in other areas that the emotional effects, including fear of the future, impact behavioural patterns, interrupt school learning and create disruptive activity," Ian says.

Some buildings damaged in the 7.8-magnitude earthquake in November have yet to be repaired with families forced to share accommodation. And the effects of the 6.5-magnitude earthquake near Seddon in 2013 are still resonating today, Ian says.

"We want to make a meaningful contribution to the rebuild and are in discussion with primary schools and the preschool creche on how best they can utilise the funds to help improve the environment and support the recovery for kids." 

A panel of speakers talking about various aspects of the earthquake will take to the spotlight for the event, called The Day the Earth Moved, from a rural family talking about the impact on the communities to a geologist explaining exactly what happened.

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Preschool and primary school leaders will talk about how children were affected and engineers will provide an insight into the infrastructure rebuild while Department of Conservation staff will focus on the environmental impact.

A question and answer session chaired by Marlborough Mayor John Leggett will follow.

The Awatere Early Learning Centre in Seddon, which serves rural communities from Clarence to the Awatere Valley, will benefit from the event. It was badly damaged in the 2013 earthquake and then again last year.

"It's a vital facility providing a place where preschool children can have a 'normal' life for a few hours each day. It is not government-funded and relies entirely on fundraising in the community and we want to help," Ian says.

The show will take place on Tuesday at 7pm, for further information or to book tickets visit asbtheatre.com

 - The Marlborough Express

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