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Student organizations bands together for charity initiative

Purdue Exponent
Saturday, March 23, 2013

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Several student organizations are coming together in order to provide education in a country that has been ridden with strife for decades.

Members of over 10 campus organizations have banded together in order to raise $5,000 to build a school in Somalia for almost 100 students ages six to 12 in the Mogadishu area, the largest city in Somalia. The school will have two morning teachers and two afternoon teachers and will provide breakfast to the students daily.

The campus organizations aligned with non-profit Aadamiga Somalia due to a personal connection some members found to the area. Purdue students got in contact with a Somalian friend at a different university, whose mother founded the non-profit in 1987, and found that the devastation in Somalia is certainly worth aiding. Aadamiga Somalia has also provided funds for building two other schools in Somalia.

“The reason why we picked Somalia is (because) Somalia has had the worst fortune ever in terms of countries – civil war, after civil war, after civil war,” Vignesh Gouthaman, ex-president of Purdue Taal, said. “1.8 million kids are not even getting an education right now; they’re out of school – they’re supposed to be in school.”

The campaign to build a school for Somalian students hit home for a lot of students who are aiming to fund raise for the initiative. The students believe that this school will be one of the best ways to provide stability to the country.

Abdul Mubin Mohd Hanafiah, outreach officer of Purdue University Malaysian Student Association, said that educating children is very important because it gives the children of Somalia something to rely on in the future.

“If you think about it, education is very important, especially for children because you’re educating the kids that will decide the future of your country,” Hanafiah said. “Other organizations are doing help for the present; we’re here to help for the future so they have something to fall back on.”

The Purdue organizations that are supporting this initiative are raising money that will be used to pay for contractors and materials. Salaries for teachers will be paid for by an outside organization and books for students will be provided by UNICEF.

Iman Allawzi, president of Purdue’s Society for the Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science, and Gouthaman have spearheaded the campaign and have previously worked together to raise funding for the devastating 2010 flooding of Pakistan. Both graduating seniors hope that a student group, Students for Somalia, will be created as Purdue students become aware of the situation and are compelled to help in the future.

Every organization that is involved in the charity had their own reasons for becoming invested in the charity effort. For Ermias Enyew, vice president of the Purdue chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers, he felt they want to be involved in the community and do their part to spread the word about the issues in Somalia.

“We feel that this $5,000, if we were to be raising it for any other cause, would not be able to make a substantial difference as much as we’re making for this project,” Gouthaman said. “There are many other charities that are on campus doing very good work (and) we feel that this is a place where this $5,000 would make the biggest difference in 100 lives.”

The campus groups are hosting a Musical Night from 8 to 10 p.m. Friday night at Vienna Cafe that will feature a variety of genres of music and 25 percent of the profits made during that time frame will go to the school fundraising. There will also be donation boxes and wristbands for sale. In April, there will be a dinner at St. Thomas Aquinas to raise awareness and funding for the effort.


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