Haiti earthquake survivor Emily Sanson-Rejouis will launch Purple Cake Day on March 1st as a specific day to set aside every year to celebrate children and empower them to help children in need worldwide.

Nelsonian, Emily Sanson-Rejouis lost her husband Emmanuel and two daughters, Kofie-Jade (5) and Zenzie (3) in the Haiti earthquake a year ago on January 12, 2010.

Following the earthquake, Emily established the Kenbe La Foundation (‘Kenbe La’ means “Never Give Up” in Haitian Creole), a registered charitable trust, to provide educational opportunities for children in need. The Foundation has since established Purple Cake Day.

Emily says Purple Cake Day is a chance for children around the world to be celebrated while they learn more about child poverty and think about ways of helping, while having some fun.

“It is important that we take the time to appreciate the children in our lives, to honour them and support them to be the best they can,” Emily says. “Purple Cake Day gives us a chance to focus on the children around us, have an excuse to go wild with purple, and learn more about how we can help children who are less fortunate.”

Emily says the Purple Cake Day focus for 2011 are the children of Haiti; a country devastated by a severe earthquake in January 2010, while already existing in extreme poverty.

“A year after the earthquake Haiti remains politically unstable and is struggling to rebuild, with most families still living in make-shift housing and with no schools for its children,” she says. “Purple Cake Day 2011 provides a chance for our children to focus on Haiti, learn about the country and the challenges its children face every day, and raise money for the Kenbe La Foundation that will directly go towards building a new school for a group of Haitian children.

“Purple Cake Day events will be creative and fun,” she says. “Children are encouraged to be inventive with their own ideas on what they can do to learn more about children in need, or to raise funds to make a difference. They can wear purple, bake and sell cupcakes, write messages of hope, have a purple concert, run a purple sports event, and more… the sky is the limit!

“We are also encouraging schools to run activities that help develop an understanding of challenges faced by children in need,” she says. “An educational school pack has been created and is available for schools now.”

Emily says Purple Cake Day is being launched in Nelson, although she says it is already gaining a life of its own outside the region.

“We are launching Purple Cake Day in Nelson as Nelson is my home town, and I would like to acknowledge the incredible support the community has given me over the past year,” she says.

“It is also fantastic to hear about Purple Cake Day events that are already being planned in other cities in New Zealand and around the world, such as London, Singapore, New York, Belgium, Haiti, Nigeria and the Congo ” she says. “It is clear that the needs of children around the world resonate with everyone, so I am rapt that people see Purple Cake Day as being relevant to them. People can read about what others are doing for the day on our Facebook page.

“Following the anticipated success of Purple Cake Day this year, we hope to broaden the concept for a worldwide launch next year.”

How to get involved in Purple Cake Day

Individuals, families and community groups, schools – people can do as little or as much as time allows! Some suggestions include:

• Promote unity and solidarity and wear purple on 1 March…dress in anything purple you can find – go wild with it!

• Celebrate and have fun by making, decorating and selling purple cupcakes – a delicious and easy way to spread the message and raise funds for Purple Cake Day.

• Organise your own Purple Cake Day activity – Have a purple disco, host a purple dinner with friends and family, paint a purple artwork, anything goes.

• Get a book from the library or research the web. Learn and talk to each other about how children live in different countries.

More information including a downloadable Resource Kit is available at http://www.purplecakeday.org/

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