Bold background banner created by MSA. Photo: Russell Ijaya

From 19 to 23 December, the MGCI Muslim Student Association held a campaign to help the ongoing war crisis in Aleppo. They asked for small donations of any spare change, as well as written messages of encouragement for those trapped in the war-zone.

Prior to the week of campaigning, the club prepared by painting the banner and making sure all the required materials for the campaign were ready. The fundraising efforts were completed by members who asked for donations throughout the week during lunch. A setup in the galleria was done at the end of the campaign.

When the club initially started the campaign, they received $174.00 just on the first day of fundraising. As the week progressed, the numbers steadily increased and the campaign gained support from dozens of Garneau students.

MSA generally has drop-in lunch sessions for MGCI students, but after their announcement of the campaign, the club had increased membership. Executives believe that this was due to the student body’s passion for this cause. Members worked diligently during the meetings to create a banner and backdrop for their general campaign which read, “I Stand with Aleppo.” All students at MGCI were encouraged to come out at lunch throughout the week to take pictures with the banner; the organizers plan to ultimately compile all the pictures into a collage.

Along with the background banner, MSA also had a separate, plain poster where students could write messages of support, pledges, and anything else that would help raise awareness for the crisis. Many students showed solidarity with the cause and the banner filled up very quickly.

Club members stand in front of the campaign banner. Photo: Russell Ijaya

On 21 December, the club set up a station in the galleria armed with posters, pamphlets, and passionate club members. Throughout lunch, the station received heavy student traffic. Some pamphlets outlined relief projects such as “The Sidra Project” and also more details about the general circumstances and situation in Syria.

Barooj Ahmed, a club member, said, “People feel really emotional about this crisis and are aware. They have been donating and want to help. I think we could’ve raised even more money if the campaign was more advertised and organized.” Currently, the exact organization where all the money will go is undecided; but the MSA is working with Hiba, a Syrian refugee, to decide.