The tragedy unraveling in Yemen is rarely in the headlines but a group of Drexel University students are actively tabling on campus to raise awareness and simultaneously garner funds for the cause.
At their first-ever tabling event outside of the Recreation Center March 12, Lebow BRIDGE, a learning community within the Lebow College of Business designed to support underrepresented students, and the Drexel Muslim Student Association attracted crowds of students with free coffee and donuts and kept their interest with staggering facts about the state of Yemen — which has been dubbed as the world’s largest humanitarian crisis of our time.
“We took it upon ourselves to raise funds and awareness on campus,” Sharaine Eldafrawy, a management information systems & business analytics major, said. According to Eldafrawy, 100 percent of the proceeds will go directly to Yemen, where over 75 percent of the population is in need of humanitarian aid, including necessities like food, water, shelter, fuel and sanitation.
Eldafrawy is involved in both organizations, and as she learned the truths about Yemen, she recognized it was important for her and her peers to give the voiceless a channel of support — and to inform other students along the way.
“As we were learning about what was going on in Yemen, we knew as college students we have the opportunity to raise awareness especially [since] they don’t have the opportunity to have their voice heard,” she explained. “This is us doing our part and hopefully more people will learn about it and seek interest.”
Up to 56,000 people have been killed in Yemen since early 2016 and the conflict has resulted in over thirteen million people who have been displaced, looking for shelter from disease and violence. The students are working to share these stupefying statistics to leave a lasting impression on other students.
“We know we can’t cure the whole crisis, but every little bit helps,” Douaa Abdulrazak, the president of MSA, said. “A little goes a long way.”
And though the money is just a start, she said the power of words will yield an even larger impact — and it’s been working.
Students have been even more responsive than she ever anticipated, though she said it’s not surprising considering the cause.
“It’s such a great cause, everyone is willing to listen,” she said.
Eldafrawy said that in the end, it’s all about awareness.
“If one person learns about it, that’s kind of us doing our part; it doesn’t matter how many people we reach, but as long as we reach someone,” Eldafrawy said.
But their impact has definitely surpassed that. At their first tabling event alone, they raised hundreds of dollars and peppered dozens of students with astounding facts about the country.
Many students were learning about Yemen for the very first time.
Nick Bugbee, a computer science freshman, said it was an “eye-opening experience.” Though he was unfamiliar with the crisis prior to tabling event, he said he will now be committed to passing along the word and even donated to the cause.
Eldafrawy said this tabling event will be the start to many more. They hope to hold monthly events, with their next fundraiser taking place at El Taco on April 17 from 12 to 9:30 p.m. Students can also donate to their venmo handle, DrexelwYemen, at any point.
“It’s been very exciting to see the response that people have towards this and we hope to continue spreading awareness and hopefully the conditions get better in Yemen,” she said.