Students from international schools across the city, including the International School of Beijing (ISB) and Western Academy of Beijing (WAB), are teaming up to raise money for schools in Fiji damaged by last month’s cyclone. They’ve put together a series of special events, including a Gala Dinner at the prestigious Diaoyutai State Guest House on March 27. We talked to Sabrina Krebs, WAB High School’s Student Council President, about the fundraising campaign.
Where did the idea come from to raise money for Fiji?
Jerry, a senior at ISB, recently lost his father to cancer. At the time the Fijian ambassador reached out to him and his brothers (his mom also passed away after a long and difficult battle with cancer a few years ago) and this inspired him to do good for others and to pay it forward. So, when Cyclone Winston hit Fiji shortly after, Jerry was inspired to help fundraise for Fiji. He reached out to students from different international schools, including me from WAB. We aim, with the backing of the Fijian Embassy, to raise RMB 1 million towards rebuilding schools in Fiji (over 60,000 students in Fiji are unable to continue their education as their schools have been destroyed!)
What challenges have you faced in organizing the events?
There have been several unique challenges to organizing different fundraisers, as well as the Gala dinner on March 27. The unique opportunity to collaborate among schools has certainly brought difficulties – we all have different schedules and prior commitments so we must accommodate and compromise with each other. But the flexibility we all have and the commitment towards this cause allows us to overcome these challenges and hopefully lead us to success in fundraising for Fiji.
What have you and your fellow students learned from the process?
Personally, I have learned from Robert Lee, in charge of relief efforts for Cyclone Winston from the Fijian Embassy, that with fundraising efforts like this, it is important to encourage community involvement and participation rather than focus on money. While aid is hugely beneficial, being able to establish connections within the Beijing community and with students and individuals in Fiji will be much more meaningful in the long term than a donation.
What advice would you have for anyone else organizing fundraising events?
Collaborate! Delegate! Find others who are willing to help and let them help! Organizing huge fundraisers is a monstrous task and hugely time consuming, so if you can find a balance between doing your share and working with others, it makes the process much more achievable, manageable and enjoyable.
How to support the campaign:
Donate to the cause: You can donate via the WeChat account Fiji Cyclone Winston Relief, or directly via bank transfer to:
Account name: FIJI EMBASSY IN BEIJING
Account number: 778350139973
Branch name: Bank of China Head Office
Attend the March 27 Gala Dinner: Contact Sabrina Krebs (firstname.lastname@example.org) for tickets to attend this special event at Diaoyutai State Guest House). Tickets are RMB 2000 per person, RMB 24,000 for a table of 12.