We have all seen on the news the recent devastating effects of tropical cyclone Pam. A vast area of the South Pacific has been destroyed, homes flattened, leaving people without shelter and clean water.
My good friend Sophia Walsh, co-founder of Five Boys Clothing, has roots in the Pacific; so this important cause is very close to her heart. Sophia is half I-Kiribati (the term used to describe a person from the country of Kiribati) and still has many aunts, uncles, cousins and friends living in the far-flung, low-lying beautiful island of Kiribati and across the Pacific.
To support the fundraising efforts currently been undertaken for the people affected by Cyclone Pam, Five Boys Clothing have organised for the production of two t-shirts to be sold with all the profits being split between immediate aid relief for Vanuatu, and clean water for Kiribati.
In the past few weeks, Sophia and others from the I-Kiribati community have found it increasingly more difficult to establish good communication channels with their family in Kiribati. Sometimes they hear bits of information but mostly at second hand from relatives that live in New Zealand or Hawaii and who managed to make contact.
Kiribati comprises three archipelagos in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, with 32 atolls and 1 ‘raised atoll’. Together they span an area greater than the United States. The island groups straddle the equator; Kiribati is the only nation in the world to have land in both the Northern, Southern, Western and Eastern Hemispheres. With the sole exception of the raised atoll, there is nowhere in Kiribati more than 2m above the sea level.
The islands are very narrow and low-lying. Tarawa, the atoll from which Sophia’s mother comes and which is the capital, is a long thin strip of land in the shape of a triangle. The east and southern bits of this are land – essentially coral storm beaches – while the west side is a reef submerged except at low tide.
Due to the low lying position of the atolls of Kiribati, small changes in weather conditions have a big effect; severe changes in weather conditions have a disastrous effect. Global warming is causing severe and consistent damage to the islands, with a particular emphasis on fresh water supplies because the rise in sea levels causes increased salination of ground water.
Sophia’s family has one well that hasn’t been contaminated – but while on Tarawa the effects of the Cyclone have been containable, the three southermost Gilbert islands of Nikunau, Arorae and Tamana (all very much places where people live off the land and have few resources) have been badly hit. Read here.
The t-shirt design has been kindly provided by Louise Coughlan of Pala Mino and hand screen printed by Victory Print Shop. It will be available in both white and navy with either gold or grey print for both children (£10, ages 4-12) and adult (£14, small, medium and large). To buy a t-shirt, please click here.
Please support this worthy cause. I’ve already ordered a navy and gold tee for my boys. But despite the name ‘five boys clothing’ these tee’s are perfect for all genders and ages.
Thank you for your support.