Advertise - Print Edition

Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Flood of support for Pakistan victims

Published: October 1, 2010
Section: Features

PHOTO BY Anthony Losquadro/The Hoot

A Brandeis organization held a Pakistan Relief Fund dinner Tuesday to raise money for victims of the flooding in Pakistan from seasonal monsoon rains, which began in the country July 26.

The dinner was a semi-formal sit-down event, the dishes (rice, vegetables, daal and naan) were cooked in a kosher kitchend by Seema Anand, mother of Nikita Anand ’12, and the desserts were baked by Mary Brustal, mother of Alex Brustal ’10.

All proceeds will go to three separate charities; the International Rescue Committee, the International Development and Relief Foundation, and the House of Charity, said Anushka Aqil ’12, an organizer of the event.

The House of Charity was specifically chosen as a recipient because of its experience with disaster relief efforts in the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake in Haiti. According to Abdul Aziz Sohail ’13, another organizer, proceeds will be used to supply “water cleaning tablets, protein tablets, medicine and shelter. However, the priority is food.”

According to statistics shared at the fundraiser, since the beginning of the floods, more than 2,000 people have been killed, and at least 21 million are injured or homeless, which exceeds the number of people affected by the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, the 2005 Kashmir earthquake and the 2010 Haiti earthquake combined. Multiple Brandeis clubs, such as the Student Union, Project Nur, South Asian Student Association, the Muslim Student’s Association, the Interfaith Chaplaincy and Positive Foundations helped sponsored the fundraiser.

Hyder Kazmi ’12, a third organizer of the fundraiser, said that “[Aqil] was the driving force behind the dinner at first. She sent out e-mails over the summer, and we had our first meeting as soon as we came back to campus.”

Kazmi and Sohail both could relate to the effects of the flooding on personal levels. “I was traveling [in Pakistan] last December,” Kazmi said. “You hear these stories, and it just hurts.”

“One in nine people were affected by the floods—that’s huge,” Sohail said. “That’s when I realized the enormity, and I wanted to contribute to my country.”

The Pakistan Relief Fund aims to raise between $25,000 and $30,000 during the course of the year.

It is estimated that the total economic impact from the flooding is $43 billion. As a result, it is critical for the Pakistan Relief Fund to maintain its publicity around campus, to continue to raise money to donate to the Pakistani people, Sohail said.

The proceeds, which were a combination of the price of dinner and donations throughout the night, totaled more than $1,500.

According to Kazmi, “The media stops covering one thing when another big event happens.” As a result, he said the Pakistan Relief Fund’s role on campus will play a critical role in maintaining student awareness as Pakistan continues to recover.

The student organizers of the Pakistan Relief Fund responded quickly. Following the dinner Tuesday, the Relief Fund will hold a coffee house to be later in the semester, to continue to collect donations, and to promote awareness of the persisting struggles of the affected Pakistani people.