Campaign to search Vancouver Island residential school sites exceeds fundraising goal

An online fundraiser that was launched to purchase radar equipment similar to what was used to find the remains of 215 children under a former residential school in Kamloops has exceeded its $25,000 goal in just one day.

The fundraiser was started Tuesday by three Vancouver Island residents with ties to the residential school system.

The trio said in their fundraiser description that the funding would be used to search the island region's five residential school properties for any unmarked remains of missing children.

The money would go towards purchasing the penetrating radar unit and to fund work with experts during the search.

"As most of you know, the news of our recently discovered Indigenous children in a mass grave in Kamloops, B.C. has devastated our First Nations communities to its core," reads the GoFundMe.

"No words can describe this news of our lost children – 215, some as young as three years old."

As of early Wednesday afternoon, the campaign had raised more than $35,000. Organizers said that any additional funds will go towards purchasing a second radar unit to assist with the search across the island's five residential school sites.

"Following our protocols, guided by our Elders and working with our young people, we want to start searching the residential school properties," reads the GoFundMe.

"Using the technology that was used at Tk'emlups residential school (Kamloops) it is critical we begin searching for more of our lost children."

The online fundraiser can be found here