Students' video message to tsunami victims
One Sydney school has gone the extra yards to send messages of goodwill, support and hope to the tsunami-affected children and people of Japan.
What started as a project to raise funds for Japan's Red Cross in the aftermath of the March tsunami, resulted in a heart-warming video production screened during an Australia-Japan Goodwill dinner in Tokyo attended by Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard.
The video carried messages of support from Banksmeadow Public School students and staff "to their Japanese friends".
One student's message was simply: "I hope your hearts begin to heal."
Banksmeadow Public School principal Cathy Lucantonio said the school was asked to be involved in producing a video after the Australian Consul-General of Osaka, Chris Rees, heard of the school's fundraising.
Through events such as a red and white mufti-day and gold coin fundraiser, the school raised $850 for the Japanese Red Cross.
"When we were asked to be involved in the video to showcase what we had done, we didn't script our words. They came from the heart," said Ms Lucantonio, who added the school felt a connection with Japan.
"We have children of Japanese descent as well as having teachers who have taught there."
Recently Mr Rees visited Banksmeadow Public School to meet with students and staff and share some insights of how the video was received by the gathering at the goodwill dinner in Tokyo.
"I told them about the reaction to their video, how touched and moved everybody was, from the Prime Minister down, by their warmth, generosity and enthusiasm," Mr Rees said.
"I explained that we, too, were raising money for the children and their families affected by the disaster, and that their video was a really important part of us being able to do that. I told them how proud we all were of them.
"It is worth noting here that the video itself had to be filmed during school holiday times, and that the children who were filmed had to come back to the school during their break, with their school uniforms on!"
Photo: Supplied by Banksmeadow Public School.