Fundraising for devastated Pakistan

Rabia Khattack, ArtSci ’08, lost 15 members of her extended family to the recent earthquake in Pakistan. She is fundraising with QPSA to help victims recover from the disaster.
Rabia Khattack, ArtSci ’08, lost 15 members of her extended family to the recent earthquake in Pakistan. She is fundraising with QPSA to help victims recover from the disaster.
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Rabia Khattack, ArtSci ’08, received tragic news over Thanksgiving weekend.

Fifteen of her extended family members died as a result of the 7.6 magnitude earthquake that struck close to the city of Muzaffarabad in the Pakistan-administered Kashmir region on Saturday.

Despite the tragedy, she was back at school this week, raising relief funds for others devastated by the disaster.

“This is helping me recuperate, helping me stay strong,” Khattack said. “This is counseling for me.”

The Queen’s Pakistani Student Association (QPSA) is spearheading the fundraising effort, which began Wednesday. Campaign booths will be stationed in Mackintosh-Corry Hall and Stauffer Library today. The group is hoping to raise at least $10,000, which will go to both the President’s Relief Fund and UNICEF. The United Nations has estimated the earthquake left 30,000 dead, and the BBC reported the damage has left over two million homeless.

Jibran Khokhar, ArtSci ’06 and a member of QPSA, said destruction to roads and the remoteness of numerous towns will make helping survivors difficult.

“There are places where aid won’t [arrive] for another two weeks,” he said.

Sana Mahmood, ConEd ’06 and events coordinator for QPSA, said the group is preparing for a long campaign. After the current campaign is finished, they plan on holding more fundraising events throughout the year.

“These people have no supplies at all. Many had no heating to begin with,” Mahmood said. “[This is about] getting people through the winter.” In the wake of the disaster, the federal government increased aid to the region from an initial $300,000 to $20 million and will match all public donations made in the next two weeks. Canada’s contribution is the largest of the G8 nations on a per capita basis.

Khattack said fundraising is the best way she can help.

“Right here in Canada, we can’t do anything except for donating, helping [victims of the earthquake] indirectly,” she said.

Mamhood added she is thankful for the many students who sent e-mails over the weekend asking what they could do to help.

The association met on Monday night to plan ways to help. AMS President Ethan Rabidoux sent out a mass e-mail on Tuesday encouraging students to donate funds, and representatives of QPSA will make speeches in classes over the next few days.

QPSA booths advertise that a $5 donation will buy blankets for an entire family, and a donation of $50 will buy family camping materials and food for a month.

For more information about the group’s activities see myams.org/qpsa.

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