The Help Club at The American University in Cairo (AUC) has recently collaborated with 17 other university student clubs to collect donations for famine-stricken Somalia. The “AUCians for Somalia” project was undertaken in cooperation with The Arab Medical Union, which has a long-term plan for digging 28 water wells in Somalia.
Help Club, which launched the initiative in September, is responsible for the campaign’s operations; the rest of the participating student organizations are collecting donations at a shared booth on campus and at events. In the first week of the campaign, the students collected191,692 EGP. They have plans to solicit contributions from corporations and institutions to increase donations. They are also planning to organize a charity event and auction to be attended by Egyptian business leaders and celebrities
This initiative is a continuation of the Nusrah campaign, established in 2006 in response to widespread concern and sympathy for individuals affected by the fighting in Lebanon and Palestine. It now targets people across the region that faces hardship.
The groups partnering in the “AUCians for Somalia” campaign include the Student Union, Alashanek Ya Balady (AYB), Astronomy Club, Beyond Borders, Construction Engineering Association (CEA), Cairo International Model United Nations (CIMUN), Finance and Investment Club, First Year Experience (FYE), Green Hands, Glow, Nos El Kobaya Radio, Petroleum Club (PC), Robotics Club, Sabeel, Shutter Stoppers, SIFE and Volunteers in Action (VIA).
“We wanted to get all student organizations to work together for one goal having one vision. We wanted to remind everyone including ourselves that we are not in a competition and that from our place as future leaders we should work together for a better country,” said Moemen Abdel Azeem, the vice president of Help Club.
Somalia, already devastated by famine, remains threatened by severe water shortages. Somalis generally have to travel across the country to find water and many die trying to reach a source of water. “One water well can serve 10,000 people and costs 720,000 EGP,” said Abdel Azeem, “Our goal is to collect money for at least one well and give it to the Arab Medical Union which has already done research and feasibility study for the project. Some of our students will then travel to Somalia to inaugurate the well,” said Abdel Azeem.
Abdel Azeem pointed out that this project does not detract from ongoing Help Club development projects in Egypt, some of which have been going on for 15 years. “We do both things in parallel. Our major focus though is definitely on people in Egypt and for developing Egypt to be a better country for us and our children,” said Abdel Azeem. “We believe that we have a role towards ourselves, our society, our country and our nation,” he added.
The university’s community service program includes 14 student-run community service organizations such as ACT, which address a range of social issues. Students work with children, senior citizens, cancer patients, orphans, blind individuals and other needy and vulnerable populations. Every service program offers hands-on experience with civic action, an enhanced awareness of the meaning of citizenship and opportunities to find solutions, provide comfort and guidance, and to assume a leadership role in the community.