The Tonga Football grabbed with both hands the Just Play Emergency program at the home of football since Tropical Cyclone Gita visited Tonga in February this year.
The emergency program was first launched in Fiji after Tropical Cyclone Winston and again in Vanuatu after volcanic eruption in Ambae island and the focus were for preparedness before, during and after the cyclone.
In this program, football would be the vehicle they used to deliver messages for the children such as always wash your hand, water is the best drink and staying safe by staying close to someone you trust especially in the time of natural disaster.
The Tonga Just Play project manager, Palu Uhatahi Tu’amoheloa worked directly with local stakeholders such as NEMO, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Health and Red Cross Society of Tonga in terms of emergency to map out this program.
The Deputy Director of the Ministry of Education, Mr. Isikeli Oko were also attend the official launched and he expressed their full support of this program.
Isikeli Oko, the deputy director of the Ministry of Education and Training says, “The Ministry is supporting this initiative that proposed from Just Play, and they also approved for twenty six (26) Government Primary Schools in Tongatapu and Eua to participate in this emergency in the next eight (8) weeks.”
“We know this program were mostly to promote healthy eating, healthy action but more important is to teach our children, our youth these tasks for the future especially in emergency.”he added.
This program launched brought trainers from Fiji Football Association Ms Lavinia Yalovi, the Just Play project manager to assist in facilitating the training together with Palu Uhatahi Tuamoheloa.
There were twelve (12) volunteers to deliver the program to all twenty six (26) schools were affected from the Tropical Cyclone Gita.
This training will run for three days before the volunteers kick start the program to various schools were identified to participate.
The Tonga Football’s President, Lord Ve’ehala welcomed everyone and he also extend his appreciation to all partners are joint Just Play to bring this program to Tonga.
In this launching program, there were representative from the Australian High Commission’s office in Nuku’alofa, from the New Zealand High Commission’s office, from the NEMO office, from the Ministry of Education and Training and from the Tonga Red Cross.
The Tonga Red Cross will also conduct first aid training for the volunteers during this three days workshop.
The Just Play Programme is designed and monitored by the OFC Social Responsibility Department in partnership with Australian and the New Zealand Governments, the Football Federation Australia, the UEFA Foundation for Children and UNICEF.