Students at the University of Stiring are showing support for those affected by the earthquakes in Syria and Turkey.
Members of the Middle Eastern and North African society (MENA) and Student Action for Refugees (STAR) hosted a fundraiser and vigil on Thursday February 23.
On February 6, a 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck Turkey and Syria in the early hours of the morning.
A 6.4 magnitude earthquake then struck the Turkey-Syria border region two weeks after this, causing even more devastation.
More than 46,000 people have died and this number continues to rise.
These are two nations that have endured a great deal of loss, devastation, and misery during the past twenty years.
According to reports, twelve years of war have left Syria with 6.9 million people internally displaced as of 2021.
With more than 3.6 million Syrian refugees living there, Turkey is one of the greatest refugee-hosting nations in the world.Most Syrian refugees in Turkey live outside the refugee camps, limiting their access to essential services.
It is unclear how much this catastrophe has exacerbated these pre-existing difficulties while the search for survivors continues.
The fundraiser and vigil hoped to highlight these issues and the groups say they are “calling on everyone in the Stirling area to please join us at both events and show their support for every single person affected.”
The fundraiser was held on campus with middle eastern snacks and sweets, baked goods and Arab chai on sale as well as face painting, temporary tattoos and henna available.
An estimated £1,800 has been raised by the societies.
The vigil was held in Stirling town centre at 6pm at the Roundall, allowing members of the public to take part and show their support.
There was music playing and speeches were being given from those who have been directly affected by this, expressing their grief for loved ones who have died from the earthquake.
The vigil provided a space for individuals to pause for a moment of silence and pray or reflect on this terrible loss.
The vigil was a sad yet beautiful show of support from the people of Stirling.
Brig spoke to Aliyah, a first year student who is currently MENA’s Interim PR manager. society. They spoke on what they hope to achieve through this fundraising and why this cause means so much to them.
They said: “ The fundraiser was to raise money because there’s a lot of charities and donations that are going around from local people in Stirling. They’ve received a lot of clothes but the thing is, clothes can only do so much.
“Buildings, homes and hospitals have crashed. People have lost lives. So to try and get them back on their feet, the least that we can do is start raising some sort of funds.
“We were thinking we might as well start a massive fundraiser to raise money to help people build their homes back, build their cities back even. Now what hurts us is that Syria has already been impacted by the war and everything.
“Turkey has a thriving economy, it is going to impact them aswell – I would like to believe that this is not the last event or fundraiser that we’ll do.”
Featured Image Credit: Laila Hisham
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