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Print Editions Thursday September 28th, 2023

‘The key word is solidarity’: Students support Moroccan earthquake relief efforts

Thousands raised from student-organized fundraiser Sunday, part of broader Moroccan student mobilization efforts

Courtesy of Salma Eldeeb

According to AP News, the city of Marrakech was particularly impacted by the earthquake, facing a “magnitude 6.8 tremor along with several aftershocks.”
Courtesy of Salma Eldeeb According to AP News, the city of Marrakech was particularly impacted by the earthquake, facing a “magnitude 6.8 tremor along with several aftershocks.”

Sunday’s student-organized fundraiser for the Morocco earthquake relief efforts raised thousands of dollars, which will be transferred to accredited charities Banque Alimentaire and El Baraka Angels through the Dwight Hall at Yale: Center for Public Service and Social Justice, according to Ghali Maata ’27, a Moroccan student who helped orchestrate the event.

The event was jointly organized by members of the Moroccan student community at Brown, who reached out to the Brown Muslim Students’ Association and the University’s Arab Society to coordinate the fundraiser, according to Jad Hamze ’25, co-president of the Arab Society.

Students described a sense of urgency in planning and carrying out the event following the earthquake on Friday. The city of Marrakech was hit particularly hard, facing a “magnitude 6.8 tremor along with several aftershocks,” AP News reported.

“We wanted to — even if we’re far away — be able to be there for our country,” Sofia Tazi ’26, one of the event’s organizers, said.


“It all started by a common feeling in the Moroccan diaspora, which was kind of a feeling of being useless,” Maata said. “We were far from our families, far from what was happening on the ground. We all figured the best way to (contribute) would be through raising funds.”

According to Vice President of the BMSA Mahir Rahman ’26, “the MSA was able to pitch individual support from the E-Board in terms of … organization and bringing in food, as well as other things.”

The fundraiser was conducted in coordination with other Ivy League university students — who made donation links available digitally — as part of a broader Moroccan student mobilization effort happening across North America, Europe and Asia, said Maata.

“Trying to coordinate the efforts to have a better impact, that was the idea,” Tazi said. 

“The fundraiser isn’t done,” Maata said, explaining that fundraising efforts across the Ivy League will be active for “the next few weeks.”

Hamze stressed that the two organizations Yale is sending the money to were thoroughly researched. Maata added that the charities are accredited “by the Moroccan government,” and that the decision to send donations to these organizations was made in connection with a broader Moroccan student diasporic group globally.

The event’s tickets cost $5 and could be used for activities such as henna tattooing, a juggling competition, food and a raffle giving away a grand prize of JBL headphones. Flyers at the event explained the value of each contribution: A donation of $5 equaled 20 loaves of bread, $10 equaled 10 bottles of water and $20 equaled a tent shelter in Morocco.

“Everyone’s been eager, buying multiple tickets, and also just coming and using the space, bringing music and doing henna … it really felt like a lively space,” Rita Slaoui ’23.5 said.

According to Hamze, the organizers “got food for about 120 people, and it was all gone within thirty minutes.” 

“We had students that had no affiliation to Morocco whatsoever, but heard about the event through social media,” Tazi said.


The Arab Society has previous experience quickly putting together a relief event after the group coordinated with the Brown Cultural Association of Turkey to fundraise for earthquake relief in Turkey and Syria.

Last year's event “laid the foundation” for the fundraiser this year, Hamze said.

Students emphasized the importance of collaboration between the various student groups in organizing the event.

“I like to see the Arab world … as a place of shared community and solidarity,” said Aboud Ashhab ’25, a Heritage Series co-programmer at the Brown Center for Students of Color. “I am always proud of being an Arab, but I’m more prideful when it comes to events like this, where all of us — despite our different dialects, geographies, backgrounds — come together and support each other.”

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“The key word is solidarity,” Tazi said.


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