University community shows support for Turkey and Syria
10 February 2023
More than £2,000 has already been raised in just three days by the University of Reading’s Turkish Society, students and staff.
Members of the Society set up a stall outside the students’ union (RUSU) building on Wednesday, after the disaster on Monday (6 February) which has left more than 20,000 people dead and 80,000 people injured, with desperate rescue efforts still underway.
The Reading students have been raising funds by selling cakes, sweets and Turkish treats, and speaking to people on campus about the disaster and how they can help by making donations.
Diyar Ulgur, 20, is a second year quantity surveying student who has given his support to the society in recent days. His parents grew up in Pazarcık, Kahramanmaraş, near the site of the earthquake in Turkey. He visits the city with his parents most summers where they had a house that is now uninhabitable. Diyar and his family know several people, including relatives, who have been impacted by the disaster.
He said: “All I feel is heartache - there isn’t any other way to describe it.
“It’s not just random people who have been impacted, for me it’s people I’ve had conversations with, people I’ve had tea with.
“In Turkey, one person's struggle is everyone's struggle.”
Arda Basara, a second year Psychology student at Reading, said: “It’s terrible knowing that people are underneath the rubble, trapped and cold and waiting to be rescued when you can go back to your warm house and live normally.
“We're all living in the same world, we're all human. I think we should be at each other's sides when we need help in any kind of situation. Even though it's far away, even a small donation will definitely help organisations to provide support.”
Support for students and staff
The University of Reading has many Turkish and Syrian students in its community, with more than 100 students from Turkey studying a range of courses and levels, and around 20-30 from Syria. A number of academic and professional staff also have personal and family links with the affected region.
The University is directing students who have been affected by the disaster to a range of practical, emotional and financial support. Students can find details via the Me@Reading portal. University staff can also find out about support available to them, and where they can help their students, via information on the Staff Portal.
Professor Parveen Yaqoob, Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the University of Reading, said: “On behalf of the University of Reading community, I express my deepest condolences to all those affected by the devastating earthquake in Turkey and Syria.
“I know that the University community stands in solidarity with the Turkish and Syrian people and all those who have been impacted by this tragedy. The resilience and determination displayed by Reading students and colleagues in recent days, working to encourage people to make much-needed donations and showing their solidarity is to be applauded. I am sure every pound raised will help to make a difference to the lives of those people who are currently urgently in need of our help."
Give to the DEC Appeal
Donations can be made via the official UK Disasters Emergency Committee’s Turkey-Syria earthquake appeal.