The actions of a six-year-old Port Alberni girl in the wake of last year’s earthquake and tsunami in Japan remain a poignant memory for the country’s Consul General.
Roxy Manson, 6, decided to forego a birthday party in favour of raising money to help children in the stricken country.
Consul General Hideki Ito spoke of Manson’s actions the act during an interview with Global Television on March 9.
In the interview, Ito recounted Japan’s recovery after an 8.9 earthquake and seven metre (22 feet) high tsunami pounded the country’s northeast coast. The country is also still dealing with the fallout from the explosion at the Fukushima nuclear plant.
The country is still re-building. Reclamation of the region is going to be a daunting task, Ito said. But, “it’s more difficult to heal the wounded hearts of those affected by the disaster — especially the children,” he added.
Many families are living in temporary housing, their former homes and even towns now a vista of devastation.
British Columbians contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars to the relief effort. But it’s Manson’s gesture that Ito remembered the most.
“This six-year-old girl told her parents that instead of birthday presents she wanted to donate that money to the people affected in Japan,” Ito said.
Manson raised $274 and the money bought toys for children living in temporary housing. Manson didn’t raise the most money compared to other donors, but what she raised meant the most.
“The most important thing for them is that they can feel they’re not alone; they have many friends who care about them from around the world,” Ito said.
The interview and acknowledgement took Manson’s mother Stacey by surprise. “I think I’m going to cry,” she said. “She thought from the heart and she did it.”
Manson also received donations from relatives, friends and the Abashiri Twinning Society (Port Alberni’s twin city), who helped get the presents to Japan, Stacey said.
The Mansons watched the devastation unfold on television last year. “We were careful because it was graphic but we used it as a moment to teach about what we would do to help,” Stacey said. “She decided herself that she wanted to do something.”
The gesture is typical of Roxy, Stacey said, adding that her daughter is also typical in other ways too. “She squabbles with her 10-year-old sister but her heart is in the right place,” Stacey said.
“One little girl can think of an idea that can have an impact and make a difference.”