“When the earthquake happened, some of us were in Turkey visiting our families,” recalls Kayra Bahadir, a Computer Science and Engineering bachelor student and one of the initiators. “That week, the whole country united as one — everybody did as much as they could to help our affected cities and people. Those of us who were there went without sleep for hours to make sure that everything was properly packaged in boxes so that help could safely go to the region in trucks.”
When the students got back to Delft, they couldn’t put their minds to rest and they felt that they had to give it their all to help from abroad. So, inspired by other Turkish student associations around the world, they organised themselves, founded the Turkish Student Association (TSA) Delft and started a fundraiser that quickly raised more than EUR 1,000.
“From that point the initial group of three people grew exponentially,” says Kayra. “Any Turkish member of the TU Delft community — from bachelor students to lecturers — reached out to be part of this initiative.”
A line at the bake sale in front of the TU Delft Library.
Their efforts led to TU Delft approving them to organise a bake sale to help raise even more funds for the victims of the earthquakes. “We were allowed to set up a stand at the entrances of both sports and culture centre X and the TU Delft Library. From Tuesday 14 February until Friday 17 February we sold Turkish foods either prepared by members of TSA Delft or provided by Turkish bakeries and restaurants in the Delft region.” With great success, as within just a couple of days the students collected almost EUR 23,000 through both cash payments and donations to their GoFundMe page.
The full amount will be donated to Ahbap, a non-governmental organisation (NGO) working in the affected region. “We chose Ahbap as it is the most transparent and trusted organisation currently there,” explains Kayra. “As the search and rescue operations come to a close within the region, there is an immediate need for humanitarian help for the survivors. The primary concerns as of now are temporary shelter, food, water, toilets, heaters, and hygiene supplies. With the donations we have collected, the NGOs which are closely monitoring the needs of the victims will attempt to bring the supplies that are most urgently needed.”
Kayra says that most of the survivors of the earthquakes are left homeless. “Most of the buildings have either collapsed or sustained heavy damage. The people in the region have been left homeless, which Ahbap is addressing as of now by purchasing and setting up tents and containers for the survivors to temporarily stay in until better homes are either found or constructed. After the conditions of this devastating crisis stabilise, Ahbap will contribute to the reconstruction of the area by helping build permanent and strong buildings.”
Now that the bake sale is over, TSA is talking with TU Delft about a potential matching of donations. “Just like how TU Eindhoven worked with their students to match the money they had raised,” explains Kayra. “We believe that TU Delft has set an incredible example for everyone in being aware of and taking action for ongoing humanitarian affairs, and that they will also continue this example in this case.”
- Awaiting a reply from TU Delft, the Turkish Student Association will keep their GoFundMe page until 24 February. You can donate here.
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