Earthquake survivors in Turkey and Syria, gets help from University of Manchester students

On the 8th, 9th and 10th of February, students at University of Manchester raised awareness to the earthquake survivors in Turkey and Syria with gathering money and collecting the most essentials for surviving.

The Turkish society at University of Manchester sat up stands outside of their student union to support survivors of the devastating earthquake in Turkey and Syria.

The society wanted to help the North West Turkish Community association that had collection points in Middleton and Trafford Park, but the students at UoM wanted to bring the donation point closer so the students that did not have a car could also contribute. 

Therefore, they came up with the idea of putting up a stands right in front of their student union building.

President of the Turkish society at UoM, Julie Zeynep Page. Photo: Dorthe Berger

The president of the Turkish society at UoM, Julie Zeynep Pagy, 23, said:

“We noticed that their collection post was too far out from the city for students that don’t have cars to get to, so we just wanted to set up something more central to be able to support that effort.”

Mehmet Eren Kirabas, 19, who is a part of the Turkish society at UoM, said:

“We thought as students of UoM, if we could put up a stand in front of the student union building it might be easier for people to give us the donations and supplies. So, instead of them going down there themselves, they could give us the donations and supplies and we could send them over.”

At the stands they did several things to raise money, such as collecting donations, goods and supplies, selling bakeries and collected digital donations throughout their GoFundMe page, including raising awareness. 

Photo: Dorthe Berger

The students had long days at the stand, with standing there and collecting donations from 8 am in the morning, to 8 pm in the evening on the 8th and 9th of February.

The North West community´s deadline for any donations was 4.30 on Friday the 10th of February, so the students donation stand closed at 1 pm on Friday the 10th, to manage to send all the donations in time.

Mehmet said: “It is a bit hard for us to go back home in such a situation. Obviously when such has happened in your country you want to do something about it. 

“Instead of trying to go back home and be of some help there, and potentially overcrowding the airports, roadways, entrances to places, causing a lot of trouble, we thought the best we could do while staying here is getting in contact with people that are trying to send help back home.”

The president of the society, Julie Zeynep Pagy, said that their stand has been really successful, she said: 

“We´ve been packing clothes, food, other supplies and donations all together. In total we sent 15 boxes the first day (Wednesday), 50 boxes the second day (Thursday), we have another 22 up in storage with a lot more stuff behind me ready to be packaged and whatever we receive today to. 

“I think we are hoping to see a 100 boxes total!”

Boxes ready to be shipped to the earthquake survivors. Photo: Julie Zeynep Pagy. 

Their GoFundMe page, have received over 7000 pounds, and the society president, Julie, are really grateful. 

“We have had to up our donation limit twice, so we are really happy about that. 1029 pounds of that came from cash donations, so that has also been a good supply”, she said. 

With over 30 000 deaths and several thousands without a place to live, the help is still badly needed in both Syria and Turkey. 

Video of the living-conditions in Turkey and Syria.

Looking into the future, the Turkish society at UoM are going to keep the GoFundMe page open for a little while, and have in plans to do another but bigger fundraising. Julia added: 

“The damage of the earthquake isn´t over with the earthquake.

“There´s people that are going to be living in tents for mounts in the cold. Ten cities have just been brought to the ground, essentially that’s not going to be fixed overnight. So, I think we are going to try and keep going.”

If you would like to donate, you can go to their Turkey earthquake relief campaign. 

All images are my own, unless stated.