Hitting the Pavement

Students raise $9,000 for Pakistan

A student volunteer collects donations on McGill College Street. Photo Clay Hemmerich

University students from Concordia, McGill and the Universite de Montreal garnered support for those in Pakistan suffering from a catastrophic natural disaster.

The team of students raised more than $9,000 to aid the victims of one of the worst natural disasters in Pakistani history. The flood has displaced 20 million people and killed over 1,000 individuals so far.

All funds are being donated to the Sungi Development Foundation, which specializes in rebuilding communities; the Nur Foundation, which supplies food and shelter to flood victims; and the Liaquat National Hospital.

On Aug. 26, a team of students hustled through the pouring rain collecting donations to help rebuild Pakistan. People passing by the corner of McGill College and Sherbrooke Street West gave smiles of approval, tips of the hat and some change as they ran for shelter.

Once the streets cleared of all potential donors, the team finally relented and regrouped at the Second Cup where the initiative, which does not have a set name, was born.

According to Jaffer Hassan, a founding member who is studying film studies at Concordia, the Pakistan flood relief campaign was created without any affiliations with non-profit organizations or the university. It was organized simply because Hassan and his group felt like action was due.

“A friend of mine called a meeting with myself and seven others to do something about [the disaster],” said Hassan. “Everybody talks about doing something and it never happens.”

Their efforts have been increasingly successful as they have attracted more volunteers. According to Hassan, seven out of 10 people who notice their green banners have been giving aid to Pakistan.

“We were actually very surprised about the amount of support we have been receiving,” said Hassan. “We were expecting a daily average of $400 to $500 a day, but we ended up receiving about $1,100 to $1,500 a day.

“We’re trying to just keep [the campaign] going until the whole disaster is [alleviated]. We’re just trying to [instill] more awareness to people in Montreal,” Hassan continued.

“Our aim these past two days was to make the froshies aware of what’s going on. We don’t expect them to give money, but we expect them to be drunk and happy, but also aware.”

This article originally appeared in Volume 31, Issue 03, published August 31, 2010.