Waking up to the sound of gunshots and the vibrations of bombs is a frightening reality that those living in Syria face every day. At the Muslim Student Association’s presentation at Lorain County Community College on Oct. 15th, they shared startling statistics about the harsh condition that Syrian refugees face and gave the campus community great insight into their lives, and what we can do to help.
“Can you imagine going from one place where you once had everything, to a place where you now have nothing and know no one?” Nadia Widdi, president of the MSA, asked the audience of the presentation. Along with grave statements about the poor living conditions and struggles the refugees are facing, they presented images and impactful videos about the depths of misery that these refugees are forced to undergo when fleeing their home that will resonate in the minds and hearts of everyone who viewed them.
Samah Alsayed, a student at LCCC and member of the MSA, moved from Syria and has been in the United States for a total of ten month. With tears in her eyes, she stood proudly and proclaimed her love for her country and her undying devotion to improving their conditions. “It was so hard to leave my home,” she said. “They arrested me there. I feel safe here, but I left my family. It is so hard to leave everything.” Her words touched upon the real struggle and the dire need of these refugees. “LCCC has helped me so much,” she said gratefully. “And I want to tell you we need help, with anything you can do. If you help us, it would be great.”
That is exactly what Widdi did with her efforts to fundraise money for the Syrian refugees by selling a variety of baked goods in the College Center Commons. They raised over $500, and with the college’s offer to double the finished total, they will be donating a sum over $1,000 to aide the Syrian refugees. “It’s really bad right now over there. I was in tears for days, and I can’t sit around and do nothing about it. I am president of MSA, so I thought why not just do something about it,” Widdi said.
They had no set amount in mind, only the hope to raise as much as they possibly could, and they certainly succeeded in doing just that. They are in the midst of taking a vote on what organization to donate the funds to, and are choosing between the Salaam Cultural Museum Organization and UNICEF. “UNICEF is really well known,” said Widdi, “But it’s not a nonprofit. So for now we’re going with Salaam, but we’re going to vote.”
Widdi encourages students and campus community members to check out Salaam’s Facebook page to find out more information, and the MSA plans to welcome any further, even anonymous, donations. “There were many donations people gave without even taking anything,” said Amani Ayyad, secretary of the MSA. “Yes, one person even donated $300,” furthered Widdi. It is exactly that spirit of giving that will help aide the refugees suffering and every effort helps. The MSA championed an important cause in the College Center today, and took a stance on an important issue that deserves every member of this community’s attention.