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Vodafone, Te Rourou foundation launch emergency grant, match donations for Tonga tsunami recovery

By Shannon Williams
Tue 18 Jan 2022

Vodafone and Te Rourou, Vodafone Aotearoa Foundation are joining forces to support relief efforts in Tonga, as the island nation faces significant damages caused by the eruption of Hunga-Tonga-Hunga-Ha'apai. 

Te Rourou, Vodafone Aotearoa Foundation has issued an immediate emergency grant of $15,000 to New Zealand Red Cross to help provide emergency relief to Tonga.

The grant follows the announcement that Vodafone will credit all calling charges for any Vodafone landline or mobile calls to Tonga for at least the next week.  

Vodafone and Te Rourou will also match donations made to the Pacific Tsunami Appeal GiveaLittle page, meaning any public donations will effectively be tripled.   

Lani Evans, head of Te Rourou, Vodafone Aotearoa Foundation says the emergency grant will help the Red Cross team on the ground in Tonga. 

"Our hearts go out to everyone impacted by the Tongan tsunami. We understand that Tongan Red Cross teams are on the ground supporting evacuations, providing first aid if needed, and distributing prepositioned relief supplies such as tarpaulins, blankets, kitchen sets, shelter tool kits and hygiene kits for immediate need. Our emergency grant will help to ensure supplies are restocked, helping as many people as possible. "

Sarah Stuart-Black, New Zealand Red Cross secretary general says additional support from Te Rourou, Vodafone Aotearoa Foundation will make a big difference to on-going relief efforts most needed in Tonga. 

"Financial assistance in disasters such as this, enables us to purchase exactly what is needed, often locally, to support recovery affected communities," she says.
 
Vodafone and Te Rourou, Aotearoa Foundation have both pledged to match public donations to their GiveaLittle page up to $200,000. 

"We know the recovery effort will be ongoing and we want to do everything we can to support the kingdom of Tonga. We know many Kiwis will be keen to support this fundraiser and so, alongside Vodafone, were going to triple every dollar donated to the GiveaLittle page," Evans adds. 

Although communications to and from Tonga are currently limited, Vodafone announced yesterday it will be crediting calling charges for any Vodafone landline and mobile calls to Tonga for at least the next week, to make it easier for customers to contact their Tongan whanau and friends as soon as possible. 

All funds raised through the GiveaLittle will be donated to New Zealand Red Cross, which will be used to support their relief initiatives throughout Tonga and the Pacific. 

This follows similar, previous emergency fundraising efforts by Te Rourou and Vodafone such as in July 2021 when the two raised almost $470,000 for the UNICEF Covid-19 Crisis in India Appeal by matching donations. 

Te Rourou, Vodafone Aotearoa Foundation is a registered charity and the philanthropic arm of Vodafone New Zealand. It was launched in 2002 and focuses on creating positive outcomes for young people since 2007. 

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