Students across the world raise funds for earthquake victims

Posted: 28 February 2023

At the heart of the Round Square community is a shared belief that the foremost task of education is to inspire and equip students to be active and engaged global citizens.

More than 60 years ago the educational philosopher, Kurt Hahn, on whose principles Round Square was founded, talked about the ability of all educators to “accelerate developments by example through our democratic participation in the societies in which we operate.”

Translated into action – If you allow students the opportunity to address real-world problems both in their local society and on a global scale, this will, in turn, inspire and prepare them to seek and develop their own opportunities to make a positive difference in the world.

So, it follows that when disaster strikes, Round Square Schools around the world step up to be of service where they can, encouraging their students to find ways to offer appropriate help to those in need anywhere in the world.

In recent weeks, attention has been focused on the aid effort for Turkey and Syria, in the wake of a series of devastating earthquakes that have killed more than 50,000 people and injured many more. Whilst the search for survivors continues, nearly two million people have been left homeless, many without shelter in freezing winter conditions and desperately need blankets, food and clean water.

Across the world, students in Round Square schools have been organising fundraising activities and donation drives. For example, at Lower Canada College in Montreal, students organised a dress-down day with donations going to the Turkey/ Syria appeal, and a bake-sale. Students at the British Overseas School in Karachi, Pakistan, also arranged a bake sale, along with other activities to raise funds for the earthquake victims. At NEGS in Armidale, Australia a Chocolate Box fundraising drive focussed on raised funds specifically to contribute to housing and hygiene.

At Indian School al Ghubra in Oman, students from Kindergarten to Grade 12 organised a food collection drive, The response to was overwhelming and two full lorry consignments including milk products/ baby formula, baby diapers and women’s hygiene products were sent to the Syrian Embassy. Students also fundraised USD $4200, through activities such as bake-sales, to go towards the transport charges for the items to reach Syria.

“The collection drive has empowered the student leaders to take the lead as they collected, categorized, packed and delivered the items to be sent to the earthquake areas of Syria”, says Noella Vaz, RS Coordinator at Indian School al Ghubra. “This experience has given the ISG students the chance to show empathy as global citizens. Our students are truly humbled to have had the opportunity to contribute to this noble cause.”

Students from the International School of Gabon Ruban Vert, in West Africa, were due to travel to Turkey on the 14th of February for a MUN conference. The trip was postponed, and students took the initiative to organise a fundraiser for the earthquake victims instead, with a donation box at the administration building of the school. Students have been going each day to meet parents and other members of the community directly at the gates of the school to encourage and collect donations, which the students have chosen to pass on to Unicef.

Across the Round Square community, which is largely made up of International Schools, there are many Turkish and Syrian citizens studying or teaching outside of their home country. For many schools, this personal connection brings a distant disaster very close to home.

At Lakefield College School, in Canada, three Turkish students spoke to the school and shared information from home. The students organised a dress down-day in support of the Red Cross’s efforts in Turkey, and an Alumni news release to support a local organization doing work in the eastern part of Turkey.

“The moment I heard about what happened in Turkey, I was devastated,” say a Lakefield student. “Even though I don’t live there currently, I was still very affected thinking about my friends and my family who live there. Being so far away from my home country has made it harder to deal with. I can’t imagine what the people who are in Turkey right now must be experiencing. I grew up in Adana which is one of the places that was affected a lot, it was very sad to see so many of the beautiful landmarks destroyed along with thousands of homes. It has been helpful to have my friends and teachers checking in on me, along with talking about the news in school; this has kept me feeling hopeful about Turkey’s recovery. I believe that in times like this, it is important to support each other, and stay hopeful for the best while working for ways to help.”

Aiglon College in Switzerland, also has a number of Turkish students, and started fundraising as soon as news of the disaster reached them. They also organised a Valentines Dance, the proceeds from which were added to the appeal. Almost CHF6’000 was raised and shared between two charities, Oxfam in Turkey and the Syria Campaign.

Of course, the closest member of the Round Square community is Keystone International Schools and Kilittasi Schools in northern Turkey, where the student Committee organised a food and clothing donation drive, and students and teachers sorted and packed donations, which were sent to the earthquake area in the first week. Ongoing fundraising is making donations to the Ahbap Foundation, and the school is now collecting books, toys and basic hygiene products such as toothbrushes and soap.

“We already have quite a lot of boxes ready to go there and hopefully a group of our teachers will go the affected area in person to deliver them and spend some time with the children,” says Maral Talu, Round Square Coordinator at Keystone and Kilittasi. “But we have a huge hole in our hearts and souls feeling that we possibly ever can help enough to the earthquake victims.” To students who are working hard to raise funds across the international Round Square community, Maral’s message is simple and poignant: “Thank you.” she says. “Your support means a lot.”

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