In an effort to raise money for Syrian refugees, the Arab Student Group (ASG) held a fundraiser yesterday selling Arabic food and giving henna tattoos at the lawn across from the StudentResourceBuilding, as a part of this year’s Human Rights Week.
The United Nations High Commission for Refugees reports that since the ongoing Syrian Civil War began in 2011, the number of Syrians who have fled the country has exceeded two million, and thousands continue to leave the country daily. ASG plans to donate funds to a Moroccan association of doctors who provide medical treatment to Syrian refugees known as “Les Rangs d’Honneur,” which translates as “Ranks of Honor.” The group sets up camps in refugee-concentrated areas for limited amounts of time, providing treatment and surgeries.
Georgina Kasih, fourth-year psychology major and co-president of ASG, said her organization chose Les Rangs d’Honneur based on its reputation for efficiency.
“We chose the organization based on how much they would donate to the refugee camps,” Kasih said. “From research, we discovered that this organization donates 100 percent of the proceeds to the refugee camps.”
Fourth year Ahmed Mousa, a member of the campus group, said he was concerned about the actions taken by the American government to mitigate conflict.
“I don’t believe that plans made to attack the Syrian regime was a good idea,” Mousa said. “It has put the Syrian people in an even worse position.”
ASG Co-President Bayane Alraui, second-year linguistics and global studies major, said she was saddened by the current state of Syria, but is encouraged by the community’s response to it.
“Both my parents are immigrants from Iraq, so I’m an Arab and ASG is like a home to me,” Alraui said. “I wish there was no need to have this fundraiser, but it is unfortunate and we are doing the best we can.”
According to Kasih, ASG has a number of events for the rest of the year, including a cultural show during Spring Quarter, which will depict Arab culture through plays, music and poetry readings.
“I do believe that people know about the issues, but [are] not versed in what is actually happening,” Kasih said. “As a cultural group, we would also like to teach about the Arab culture and what certain aspects the culture signifies.”
Kendall Ota, a first-year communication major who attended the event and bought a henna tattoo, said she was inspired by ASG’s efforts, “I think it’s a great cause, and I’m happy to be supporting it.”
This story is a Daily Nexus online exclusive.