In response to the magnitude 7.3 earthquake that hit Port-au-Prince, Haiti on Tuesday, January 12, Stuyvesant has been raising money to donate to relief organizations.
According to the New York Times internet database on Haiti that was updated on Thursday, January 14, this was the most destructive earthquake to hit the country in 200 years. The estimated death toll is between 150,000 and 200,000 people. Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF), which was created in 1971 by a small group of French doctors, is a non-profit medical and humanitarian organization dedicated to providing unbiased care worldwide.
In an effort to raise money for MSF, also known as Doctors Without Border, seniors Allegra Wiprud and Lily Ostrer are accepting donations and holding bake sales. As of Friday, January 15, they raised 1,100 dollars. Wiprud and Ostrer are also trying to secure donations from the Alumni Association and the Parents’ Association in order to meet their goal of raising 5,000 dollars by Friday, January 22. Wiprud is “very optimistic in what [they] can do,” she said.
In addition, SPARK counselor Angel Colon is gathering donations through fundraisers, which started Tuesday, January 19. He is trying to “gather the community to contribute,” Angel Colon said. Starting on Wednesday, January 20, he began to sell raffle tickets, worth a dollar each. Students guess the number of lollipops contained in a jar and the student that guesses the closest to the number of lollipops wins the jar. Angel Colon is also selling items such as balloons and pens, with new items still to come.
Teachers and faculty members have also been helping out the cause. Robotics teacher Rafael Colon is trying to get his students and the robotics team members to contribute. All these contributions will be sent to four charities that Stuyvesant has previously raised money for. These charities, MSF, UNICEF, International Red Cross and Habitat for Humanity, have already established themselves in Haiti.
Having raised between 700 and 800 dollars in two days, Rafael Colon says he wasn’t surprised. “It’s unfortunate that it does take tragic events [...] but I feel that when the community needs to come together, people do come together. I’m not surprised. People do step up,” Rafael Colon said. With this ongoing effort continuing until Monday, January 25, and then resuming in the beginning of the spring term, Rafael Colon hopes to raise more than one thousand dollars.
“This situation is just unimaginable and I don’t believe that it’s been fully assessed [...] at this point,” Wiprud said. Wiprud believes that as the traumatizing pictures, videos and reports come in, people “need to realize the extent of the damage and the nature of the situation,” she said.
Wiprud is impressed by how quickly and efficiently Stuyvesant students, and people around the world, have reacted. “It’s remarkable how much people around the world are mobilizing to help respond to this catastrophe,” Wiprud said. “A lot of people have come up to me in the hallway and given me a handful of cash.”
Students are glad to see their peers do their parts in helping.
“It’s cool to see people so eager to provide for a cause that doesn’t directly affect them in any way in most cases,” junior Lipi Thaker said.
“Such an immediate response by various organizations in the school, not just those intended for charity, really shows the genuine concern and compassion of the Stuyvesant student body,” junior Marsha Kononenko said.