Tsunami relief dinner rasises money for relief efforts

Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.

Last Friday marked another joint effort among Deshi, SAO, and I-20 to support the tsunami relief, this time with a dinner at Upper Tarble, featuring catered Indian food and an open-invite to faculty and staff.

Much deliberation on the part of the student coordinators dictated to which organizations the proceeds would go. The list became narrowed down to two, because they were focused on the worst-hit areas and had small overheads, so as to devote the bulk of their funds to actual relief. One organization, Initiative Sunrise Sri Lanka, is currently at work in Ampara, on the east coast of Sri Lanka, and the other, Via Campesina, a world-wide relief effort, is assisting Aceh and North Sumatra in particular.

After a welcome and an introduction to these organizations by Deshi, SAO, and I-20 officers, Ranga Atapattu ’08 shared her perspective on the tsunami disaster, which was shaped by her Sri Lanka roots and her brother vacationing in Sri Lanka at the time. Atapattu and the officers extended their thanks to the entire campus for all of the support received so far, which includes over $1000 from the International Club Party on January 22, and over $600 from tabling at Sharples.

“[The dinner] lived up to our expectations. Turnout is really good, and people donated more than we asked for,” commented Cong Cao ’07 when interrupted over Indian food, which, by the way, “remind[ed] us how inauthentic Sharples cultural food tastes” (Hans Hsu ’07). It was really good, to boot. Professor Ginny O’Connell of Sociology&Anthropology observed that the event was “wonderful for students to do because of the short attention span of the media…it [gave] everyone a chance to hear about it [the tsunami disaster], rethink it, and to refocus on the relief efforts.”

Those relief efforts will receive 100% of the proceeds from Friday’s dinner, owing to the generosity of Maurice Eldridge, who provided enough funding to cover all costs.

Deshi, SAO, and I-20 will continue to support tsunami relief, and ask that if anyone would like to contribute in any way, to not hesitate to contact Rozina Ali (rali1), Melissa Phrukschart (mphrusk1), or Mamta Jhaveri (mjhaver1).

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