22 Mar 2016

Generous tourists and locals have dug deep over the past week to donate money to assist cyclone devastated communities in Fiji.

Cruise Whitsundays, which has sister companies South Sea Cruises, Awesome Adventures Fiji, Blue Lagoon Cruises and Vinaka Fiji operating throughout the Fiji islands, ran a fundraising drive to help support affected Fijian villages.

Cruise Whitsundays CEO Nick Hortle said the company had placed fundraising tins on its boats for the past week and raised $1,027.80 in small change from passengers.

“We immediately felt such empathy for the staff at our sister companies in Fiji, as we all know full well how hard things can be after a cyclone hits,” Mr Hortle said.

“Then as the news slowly trickled in from the villages about how hard they had been hit by TC Winston, we wanted to do something to help,” he said.

“Cruise Whitsundays will match every dollar donated, so in just a week we have raised over $2,000 to donate to Vinaka Fiji.”

Vinaka Fiji is a charitable trust operated by South Sea Cruises that aims to provide improved basic amenities currently missing from village life in the Yasawa Islands of Fiji. 

The already basic living standards in the Yasawas’ villages has been devastated by the cyclone.

Reef Safari, who provide the diving and photography services for Cruise Whitsundays, and which also has operations in Fiji, is also busy raising funds and collecting donations to be shipped to Fiji.

Owner Julia Farrell said the company has set up the ‘Barefoot Fiji Loloma Levu Fund’ which is accepting cash donations to be distributed to affected villages.

“We are also buying, filling and shipping a container to Fiji with second hand goods for the villages based near to our resorts in the Yasawa Islands,” Mrs Farrell said.

“We urge people to have a clean out of unwanted household items (that are in good condition) and donate them to us to send to Fiji,” she said.

“We cannot send electrical goods or food, however the direct feedback from the villagers on their needs are: clothing (kids and adults) in good clean wearable condition, bedding, towels, tarpaulins, school backpacks, tools, solar torches and kitchen items,”

“It is important to understand that we are seeking second hand items only – if people want to spend money on new items it is better to just donate cash so that Fijians get the double benefit of the money being spent in their own economy. The Fijian Government and other aid agencies have been quite clear in this request.”

Items can be dropped off to Reef Safari between 7am – 3pm at 2 Waterson Way (in between Harcourts and the Chiropractor).

To donate to Vinaka Fiji: www.vinakafiji.org.fj

To donate to the Barefoot Fiji Loloma Levu fund: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/fiji-loloma-levu-fund#/

For further information, contact:
Danielle Krista, Publicity Manager
+61 414 313 769
danielle@cruisewhitsundays.com

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