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The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

‘We just can’t do nothing’: Lafayette’s Turkish community holds fundraiser for earthquake victims

Turkish students at Lafayette united in response to the disaster. (Photo courtesy of Foreign Policy)

In the wake of the devastating earthquake in Turkey and Syria, Baris Yazici ’25 and seven other Turkish students are mobilizing the Lafayette community to provide relief for the victims.

According to CNN, a 7.8 magnitude earthquake hit parts of southern Turkey and northern Syria on Feb. 6. Reported as the most powerful earthquake in 100 years to hit the region, the earthquake caused many buildings to collapse in the region, leaving four million people in need of humanitarian assistance. As of Wednesday, it was reported that over 36,000 people have died.

Here at Lafayette, international students from Turkey have led efforts to fundraise donations for the victims through a social media campaign. Yazici, a sophomore hailing from Istanbul, explained that the students started this fundraiser to get immediate and necessary funds for the survivors.

“Even when [the victims] get out of the buildings, the rubble, they have to live there … They can’t get the help they want to, and this help is going to be needed for months,” Yazici said. “We can’t just sit, because a lot of families that we know are in the area. They were affected. So, we just can’t do nothing.”

Another reason why Yazici started this fundraiser was the lack of awareness and response from the Lafayette community to the disaster. Very few people have reached out to Yazici or other Turkish students to see how they are doing or whether their families are safe.

“Being here attending classes, having to check Twitter all the time for people who are saved or who died … That’s really hard,” Yazici said. “And when you try to do that, and no one next to you knows, not even your friends – the people who you have attended classes with for two years – when they don’t even ask how you’re doing, that really hurts.”

The main issue facing the fundraiser is its limited reach. Yazici said that “we’ve tried to share it on our Instagram accounts. Some of our friends shared it, but we haven’t really seen a lot of support.”

In the upcoming weeks, Yazici plans to hold other events to help bring awareness to the earthquake victims and to get further donations.

Those who are interested in contributing to the fundraiser can Venmo @baris_yazici. All donations will go to the Foundation of Anatolian People and Peace Platform, an organization that Yazici says prioritizes transparency and will use the money to help rebuild the areas impacted in Turkey.

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