Penn student groups are hosting a fundraiser to aid the Morocco earthquake relief efforts.
Wharton sophomore Yasmine Kettani is leading the response by coordinating fundraising efforts and a bake sale on campus in partnership with Penn Muslim Student Association, the Penn Arab Student Society, Penn Middle East Center, and other student and faculty volunteers. The bake sale, including Moroccan desserts such as baklava, will be on Locust Walk near ARCH every day this week from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. based on volunteer availability.
The recent 6.8 magnitude earthquake left many without access to water, food, shelter, and medical supplies. Over 2,800 people died and 2,500 were left critically injured. The World Health Organization found that more than 300,000 people were affected by the quake.
Wharton senior and Penn Muslim Student Association President Rayane Taroua explained her family’s reaction to the unexpected earthquake.
“They just weren’t prepared for it at all … everyone was kind of confused as to what was happening at first,” Taroua said. “Everybody across the whole country, I’d say, spent the night out in the streets because raw earthquakes aren’t common in Morocco … the house infrastructure isn’t built to withstand large earthquakes.”
In addition to houses, tourist and sacred sites have also been damaged in Morocco, Kettani told The Daily Pennsylvanian.
“I know in Marrakech, the Old Medina has partly fallen which is horrible spiritually and touristically as well," Kettani said. "My mom told me that the top of the most famous mosque in Marrakech also fell … symbolically it’s pretty wild.”
Taroua and Kettani both said that they hope the donations will specifically reach vulnerable groups in villages outside major cities.
“People are living in areas that are too remote to access early … with the earthquake breaking roads. Houses [in these mountainous villages] break the easiest and that’s why we have the most deaths there,” Kettani said.
Kettani said she has received support from students who organized the fundraiser for earthquake relief in Turkey and Syria in February. She also has collaborated with students at Brown University and Yale University regarding a later coordinated initiative to help in the relief efforts.
“All the money we’re collecting is going to the people that I know are on the ground that I’ve worked with in the past,” Kettani said, referring to several organizations in Morocco.
According to the organizers, the fundraiser has brought in over $1,400 in donations so far.
“Whether that be just contributing to the bake sale through buying baked goods, tabling with us, or donating themselves … donating your morning coffee for one day can really go a long way,” Taroua said.
The organizers said that students are encouraged to Venmo @helpmorocco if they are unable to purchase a baked good at the sale this week. They are also encouraged to spread the word by reposting information about the bake sale on social media.