A group of Kuranui students took part in an Amnesty International Write for Rights workshop.
The workshop opened in the Greytown Town Hall with a stirring overview by senior students Jack Stokes, Jess Buckham and AJ Southey of the organisation’s achievements over the years.
Write for Rights is Amnesty International’s annual letter writing campaign, where supporters from all over the world write millions of letters and take action online through web petitions or social media.
The event was organised by Snita Vro and supported by other members of the Greytown Lions Club.
Kuranui’s junior students were presented with four Amnesty case studies to highlight, and with only three weeks to prepare, they settled on the story of Clovis Razafimalala and his passion to save the endangered ruby-coloured rosewood trees of Madagascar.
“His story just leapt out for the students. It’s about the environment coming first, even though it ended up with Clovis being imprisoned, his family threatened and his house firebombed,” explained Kuranui Head of Performance Juanita McLellan.
The junior performance was based on ideas from Dr Seuss’s ‘The Lorax’ and involved stunningly beautiful trees and comical policemen reminiscent of Benny Hill. But it ended with a serious message – tell Madagascar to overturn Clovis’s sentence immediately by writing a simple letter.
Year 10 performer Mel Redfern said although Clovis’s situation is quite rare, it was very sad to see someone imprisoned for protecting the environment. “I was struck by how he was put in prison for just trying to save the trees,” she explained.
The students also joined forces with pupils from Greytown School and members of the public to write letters of support for Clovis and the other three people being highlighted this year by Amnesty International.
“It feels really good that we are trying to do something to help, we’re not going out there just to perform – we’re trying to make a difference. It’s really important to us,” added student Florence Cater.