Queensland Rugby League fans are encouraged to dig deep and donate what they can to help support Fiji after it was devastated by Cyclone Winston.
This week, the NRL donated $50,000 to the UNICEF appeal. In addition to the donation, the NRL has pledged to continue to work with UNICEF and their rapid response network and is encouraging fans and communities to support the appeal and the people of Fiji as they start to rebuild.
Australian Rugby League Commission Chair John Grant said the rugby league community has close ties with Fiji, with some of the game’s finest and most popular players coming from the country.
“We work closely with the Fijian Rugby League authorities to develop and promote the game and you cannot help but be impressed by the warmth and talent of the Fijian people,” Grant said.
“I know that the people of Fiji are resilient and they will rebuild and I am encouraging all our fans to get behind UNICEF’s appeal to assist with the recovery operations.”
Donations to the UNICEF Fiji appeal can be made at www.unicef.org.au
The local NRL Fiji office and staff thankfully survived the cyclone uninjured and have been helping out with recovery and clean-up efforts on the island of Suva. The team are providing support to local schools and communities that have been affected by catastrophic circumstances.
Former Queensland Origin legend and community ambassador Petero Civoniceva said he was praying for the people of Fiji and has now set up a donation page to assist those in need.
“Thousands of people have been displaced and families have been lost to this powerful storm,” Civoniceva said.
“I am devastated for my people of Fiji and I know that as a game, we will do whatever we can to assist those affected as they go through this difficult time.”
The former representative forward (for Queensland, Australia and Fiji) set up the Petero Civoniceva Foundation in 2013 and since then, his staff have been working hard on the ground to help support Fijian’s in need.
The Foundation is currently putting together care packages of food, water and other essentials and shipping them out to the areas most in need.
This is only the beginning of their work as with the support of the wider rugby league community, they are committed to the long-term re-building of communities in Fiji.
QRL Membership Co-Ordinator Michelle Baguley (pictured above) recently returned from a trip to the islands where she was able to hand out some gladly-received Maroons 18th Man T-shirts at the village of Matawalu.
“One of the village elders did a speech and said to say thank you very much,” Ms Baguley said.
“These people have been through such a tragedy, but still have the biggest smiles on their faces.
“I was so grateful to be able to give these shirts to people in need on behalf of the Queensland rugby league family.”
As Cyclone Winston was the worst storm ever recorded in the southern hemisphere, the people of Fiji are going to need on-going support into the future – as well as immediate assistance.
You can donate now to help them get through this difficult time and to rebuild for a brighter future.