Toronto, September 7, 2010 – With more than one-fifth of Pakistan flooded, and 17 million people affected, the area has become a major focus of worldwide humanitarian relief efforts. According to the Government of Pakistan, more than 1,600 people have died. Millions of homes and livelihoods have been obliterated and 70 percent of roads and bridges in the flooded areas have been washed away.
In a welcome move, the federal government of Canada has announced between August 2 and September 12, it will match private donations to registered charities to bolster relief efforts in Pakistan, a nation enduring one of its worst floods in memory.
“The federal government’s decision to match donations has the potential to aid thousands of additional children caught in this tragedy,” said Catherine Fife, president of OPSBA. “We encourage the federal government to extend the deadline for matching funds so that the families of Pakistan may benefit from the humanitarian efforts of students in our schools.”
To help the people in Pakistan begin to rebuild their lives, the Peel District School board is sending a message of hope. On Sept. 21, every student, staff member and parent is invited to contribute a loonie or toonie to support relief efforts in the region. This is a completely voluntary campaign. The board has sent a letter to the government requesting the deadline be extended so that schools are able to have their donations matched.
“Our students are tremendously giving and care deeply about the world around them,” says Janet McDougald, chair of the board. “It’s important that the government support the generosity of our young people and extend the deadline so that school donations will also be matched. By setting the Sept. 12 deadline, the government has excluded schools from having donations matched. Although I’m sure this wasn’t intentional, the government will now want to recognize the great work schools do to help when humanitarian emergencies arise.”
All of the funds collected by Peel schools will be sent to UNICEF which has been on the ground in Pakistan since 1948 and had pre-positioned emergency suppliers that were ready to deploy when the floods hit.
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