Grade 8 students Georgia Haydock, left, and Anna Considine hang handmade prayer flags in the lobby of the Middle School.
If there’s one thing that stands out in Nepal – and in Grade 8 student Anna Considine’s memory of visiting Nepal last spring – it’s the brightly coloured flags that hang everywhere in the country.
“It’s incredible. When you wander around, they’re just everywhere; they’re part of the scenery. It’s just such a beautiful thing because it’s pops of colour everywhere you go,” she says. “Even in some of the remote areas, they’re everywhere. We were hiking on a big mountain with prayer flags all around.”
When the magnitude 7.8 earthquake struck Gorkha, Nepal on April 25, the Middle School student was immediately concerned, which quickly grew into a want to help.
“My family has a lot of really close friends there, so when the earthquake happened we were all really shocked and really sad about it, so I got in touch with some of my friends there. We were emailing back and forth, and they were telling me about their experience, and I thought that it was really important that we do something to help raise money,” Anna says.
Along with friend and classmate Georgia Haydock, the pair has launched a fundraiser at SMUS in hopes of making a difference in the relief and recovery efforts in Nepal.
“The prayer flags are hung in temples, in the city, in the mountains, and so they’re just flags with prayers and wishes written on them, and whenever the wind blows it’s supposed to blow the prayer and the wish off the flag.” Georgia says.
“Whenever there’s anything going on or when something’s wrong in their life, the people in Nepal hang them up and it’s incredible to see,” adds Anna.
The pair is selling do-it-yourself prayer flags on which students, staff and SMUS community members can write their own prayers, wishes and thoughts for the Nepalese people. The flags are then being hung up in the Middle School, alongside some authentic prayer flags.
“It’s been really incredible so far. Kids are coming in and writing really heartfelt messages. One of the students wrote something that we both thought was really touching: ‘I hope Nepal recovers quickly. I also hope that the people who have died are in peace,'” Georgia says. “I think it’s great that this isn’t just raising money, but it’s getting kids and parents and teachers to reflect on what’s happening, write down their thoughts and take a moment to send wishes and prayers to help these people.”
Anna, whose dad Chris Considine ’70 is Honourary Consul General for Nepal in Western Canada, says her brother Jonty ’12 is off to Nepal to assist with relief efforts in the coming days.
“This earthquake is absolutely devastating, and it’s killed so many people and affected 8.1 million people. This is a huge catastrophe and it’s important for humans to help other people in the world who are struggling,” Anna says. “I really hope we are helping a lot of people in Nepal.”