UPDATE: All donations are paired with a digital print by Melissa @melle.ngunnawalartist
Mālō e lelei and Maiem.
On the 15th of January, a sonic boom echoed from Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apai reaching neighbouring nations. After a few weeks of volcanic activity, Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apai erupted spitting out ash so big it could be seen in space. From this eruption a tsunami swept our lands, hitting our nation's heart, Nuku’alofa. Floods occured in this process, taking chunks of homes, roads and sea wall with it. This eruption was so powerful that it has damaged the underwater cables which provide service to the islands. Tongans around the world have not heard from their loved ones since and are eagerly waiting for news.
Solwata Mana was a healing project turned small business, owned by myself, a proud Torres Strait Islander and Tongan storyteller based in Meanjin (so called Brisbane, Australia). It is one of our core values to uplift, help and empower my people, to build community. So we'd like to contribute in our own small way as well.
On our website we have provided a way for people to donate funds for however Tongans would like to spend it. Whether that is to rebuild their farms or homes, to buy food and resources, to replace clothes, repair heirlooms etc. The possibilities are endless and truly their decision. Instead of a percentage of donations being taken from donation websites, we hope to receive funds and donate directly to community organisations. If the organisations we find, once connected to our islands again, can only provide links to fundraisers and not their bank account, we'll donate directly there. Everyday, you'll be updated on both @endlessyarning and @solwatamana on how much we've raised.
Another way we have decided to help is donating a percentage of profits from all our sales* to our fundraiser as well. We are a small business, but we still want to contribute, for our famili, for our country. We hope this helps our people and in the process raises awareness of our Island nations needing more help now than ever because of rising sea levels, which cause these disasters to be more devastating.
I hope my people are safe; I hope my island home knows how much love I have for them; I hope the world sees us and finally listens.
Malo 'aupito and Au Esoau
*All proceeds from the Tongan hoodies go back to the Queensland Tokoua Tonga Rugby League organisation who uplift Tongan children in the diaspora and support them in becoming the best Rugby League players whilst representing their country.