Bluesky Samoa’s relief programme has ended on a high note with their 20ft container filled to the brim and awaiting to be shipped to Fiji.
The relief programme, which was the brainchild of Bluesky’s Chief Commercial Officer, Sanjeewa Perera and led by Leanne Moananu saw a flood of donations from the Samoan community.
The window for donations was two weeks but even after that timeframe, donations were still flowing in. The aim of the project was to collect relief items for the people of Fiji who were affected by tropical cyclone Winston which according to Ms. Moananu is something out of the norm for the telecom company.
“Usually what Bluesky does when there is natural disasters around the Pacific is we open a donation line where people can text to a short code to do a donation of let’s say $1tala,” she said.
“(But) this time we wanted to steer away from collecting money as we believe that physical items are what’s really needed.”
The company used newspaper advertisements and a variety of social media forums to get their message out to people who wanted to help through donations of clothing, food items and reading books for the children.
“Our relief programme wanted to target mainly the children that were affected because we are working together with the Ministry of Education in Fiji, so we asked the country to bring in whatever they can afford to give,” Ms. Moananu said.
“We didn’t really anticipate the amount of donations that we actually received from the public and it was really overwhelming for us and showed the Samoan spirit of wanting to help others.”
Now that the collection time is over Bluesky is waiting on the ship to get to Fiji.
“We have packed everything into the 20ft container and the next ship to Fiji will take the donations today (30th of March) to the Ministry of Education in Fiji,” Ms. Moananu said.
“Our financial controller Peter Singh is there in Fiji on a business trip and he will be doing the official donation handover.”
According to Ms. Moananu there were donations by individual people and large donations by companies. There were even those who offered to donate money. “Don Bosco also offered an envelope of $1000tala but we kindly refused because we are not collecting money,” she said. “There is always that issue with money where people will ask if we are being accountable.”
Ms. Moananu also told Samoa Observer that Bluesky will always attempt to take initiative to help anyone in need.
“Bluesky will always be happy to help our fellow Pacific Islanders any time there is a natural disaster, we have done this in the Philippines during typhoon Ian, and also cyclone Pam in Vanuatu,” she said.
“I think this time around we have generated the most response from the people of Samoa. We will continue to stand in solidarity with our pacific people and others whenever they need us.” The telecom company is extremely grateful for those who donated. “On behalf of Bluesky I would like to thank all the people of Samoa who heeded our call for help and opened up their hearts to the people of Fiji,” Ms Moananu said.
“It was very heartbreaking for us when the Cyclone hit because we have very close links to Fiji but it is also very touching to see the response from our people who wanted to help.”