U of C tsunami relief

By John Leung Chung-Yin

While relief efforts are already well underway in areas affected by the Boxing Day tsunami in Southeast Asia, fundraising efforts are now in full swing all around the world, including at the University of Calgary.

Various groups at the have begun their efforts in earnest, and students, staff and faculty have opened their hearts and their wallets to them.

While a few clubs have been engaged in their own efforts, some clubs, like the Muslim Students’ Association, have teamed up with other organizations like Human Concern International to coordinate fundraising efforts.

“After the tsunami, right away there were talks of what can be done and what projects to do,” explained Karan McCarty of HCI, noting the global effects of this disaster, regardless of race or religion. “This is not just a Muslim problem, but a worldwide problem–it affects every single person.”

Other groups have also sprung up, like the Sri Lanka Tsunami Relief Fund, founded by a group of Sri Lankan graduate students and staff and in conjunction with the Sri Lankan Buddhist Society. With parts of their native land in ruins after this disaster, this group aims to help their countrymen, and especially students and schoolchildren.

Raising money for an NGO in Sri Lanka, the group begun their efforts on campus Jan. 6, and raised approximately $1,000 in the two days before classes.

This generosity of students and staff has not gone unnoticed.

“We are absolutely flabbergasted just in the last couple of hours at the generosity of staff and students here.” stated Kyra Derksen, co-president of the U of C Red Cross Club. “We’ve just been blown away [by the] huge donations that we weren’t expecting.”

Working with the Mount Royal College Red Cross Club, the group is also planning other fundraising efforts, with all monies going directly to the Red Cross.

The funds gathered will help ease the suffering in the affected areas, according to Co-chair of Campus UNICEF Melissa Mohamed. The $6.5 million raised so far by UNICEF as a whole, along with the amount raised by Campus UNICEF, will be used to provide essential sanitation facilities, clean water and medicine to help the children affected.

Even the Students’ Union has jumped into the fray by donating space and tables for the groups with fundraising efforts. Later in January the SU, in conjunction with the Graduate Students’ Association, the Red Cross and other organizations and ethnic communities, will hold a charity event and benefit concert at Mac Hall.

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