On Monday, February 6, 2023, Turkiye experienced a devastating earthquake that caused widespread destruction and loss of life. The earthquake measured 7.8 magnitude, making it one of the largest earthquakes in the history of Turkiye.

The aftermath of the earthquake was a testament to the scale of destruction that affected the people in the region. The earthquake took approximately 50,000 lives, injured approximately 100,000 people and left thousands of others homeless and displaced.

The impact of the earthquake resulted in the collapse of approximately 160,000 buildings including homes, workplaces, schools, and hospitals. The collapse of these structures left many people injured, trapped or killed under rubble.

The impact of this disastrous event was felt not only in Turkiye, but also throughout the world. At AISB, home to a robust population of Turkish families and students, the impacts of this tragic natural disaster led to a heart-warming humanitarian effort.

(For more about Romania’s response to the earthquake, read it here on The Bite.)

Emergency Service of Ukraine conducts search and rescue work in Hatay Province. (Image courtesy of DSNS.gov.ua, CC BY 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

The Tragedy that Hit Home

Due to the magnitude of the disaster and the number of people affected, the tragic earthquake has received a lot of attention, yet, the specific experiences of those close to us who have suffered personal loss or have had family members harmed by the earthquake frequently go unnoticed.

Alya A. and Ayca S., two Turkish ninth graders at AISB, have close relatives who were affected by the earthquake.

Alya’s family tragically lost a family member, whereas Ayca’s family was fortunate enough to survive.

Alya discussed her feelings of helplessness on how she was affected by all the impact that the earthquake had on her family. “Even though I was not physically harmed, I felt very harmed emotionally. I felt a sense of helplessness because I could not go to them and physically help them. Instead, I did things like donating that I found would be helpful to everyone in Turkiye. This helped me cope with the intense feeling of grief and helplessness I was feeling.”

Similarly, Ayca says, “I think that my mental health really took a turn. Sometimes I would be up all night worrying about the safety of my family. I think that it really affected me badly, however it really comforted me to know that my family was safe.

AISB Jumps into Action

After receiving news on the catastrophe, the AISB community came together to contribute in helping raise money for all of the people who are in need of clothes, food, tents and water.

In order to achieve this many people came up with fundraisers that could be successfully done in school.

A basketball game dedicated to Turkiye and Syria was one of the most prominent fundraisers, organized by PHE teacher Arif Akhundov along with the contribution of the varsity team.

It was an event that attracted attention to the ongoing events that are faced by Turkish and Syrian citizens. The event was not just about raising money but also about raising awareness considering that the game itself was dedicated to Turkiye and Syria.

Turkish students, parents and some teachers were outside the gym selling traditional homemade food to everyone coming to watch the game. This bake sale allowed students to have something appealing to buy while also raising money for a good cause.

The funds raised from the game were given to Director Peter Welch, who ensured that the money would reach the right people and organizations.

A bake sale that took place outside the cafeteria, with proceeds donated to humanitarian relief efforts. (Image source: Cagla O.)

Similarly, the week-long bake sale organized by Cagla O. was another significant fundraiser that raised a great deal of money.

To organize the bake sale, many people contributed in order to make it as successful as it was.

On February 10, Turkish students in the school received an email from Turkish mother tongue teacher Aynur Mumay-Ozer regarding a meeting to organize more fundraising initiatives. The meeting resulted in a detailed plan of action that outlined the steps needed to ensure the success of fundraising efforts.

The money from this bake sale went to a credible charity called AHBAB.

The game was able to raise around 5,000 lei (approximately 21,000 turkish lira) while the bake sale raised over 10,000 lei (42,000 lira). All together the fundraisers were able to raise over 15,000 lei (64,000 Turkish lira) for the cause.

It is important to remember that even though this earthquake occurred on one day the impacts last for longer so Turkey will always need something to help.

-Çağla O.

Cagla stressed that we must not forget about the fact that Turkiye will need help and that the earthquake’s impacts are still being felt by many. Therefore, contributing money to charities would still be beneficial even if there is no current event going on in school.

Here are credible charities to donate to: