Relief efforts pool funds



Beginning today, all money raised by students for victims of the Dec. 26 tsunamis in the Indian Ocean region will be pooled into one all-encompassing fund to be funneled to relief networks working in the affected region.

An umbrella organization known as Tsunami Relief at Yale College, which has been overseeing and coordinating on-campus tsunami relief fund-raising efforts, will administer the Yale College Tsunami Relief Fund, said Carol Yu ’08, one of the fund’s founders. Yu said she hopes the group’s efforts to consolidate campus activism will make it easy for students to join the effort.

“We want to facilitate the fund-raising that’s going on and make it into a Yale community effort, a big fund that everyone can work towards,” Yu said.

TRYC, composed of about a dozen students, was created after a series of meetings in early January facilitated by Dean of Student Affairs Betty Trachtenberg and a number of other administrators during which students met to discuss their fund-raising plans.

The Tsunami Relief Fund’s main purpose is to coordinate student efforts to prevent overlap and scheduling conflicts, Yu said. But she said the group has another purpose as well: to make sure the campus continues to donate money, even after the memory of the disasters is no longer fresh on students’ minds.

“People in those areas are going to need help for a very, very long time,” Trachtenberg said. “TRYC and my committee are trying to prolong the memory of that event.”

With that goal in mind, TRYC is meeting weekly to plan several campus-wide events to raise both aid and awareness. The group is planning a fund-raising effort during the upcoming International Students Cultural Show in March, Yu said. She said TRYC members are working with the show’s planners to channel a portion of the money raised at the show to the new Tsunami Relief Fund. In another event, organized by Yale workers, a concert featuring student groups will take place in Woolsey Hall on March 2, Trachtenberg said.

Since the tsunamis, Yale students have raised at least $7,700, which has been earmarked for the CARE organization in Sri Lanka. But starting today, money from Yale’s fund will go to aid organizations in India, Indonesia, Sri Lanka and Thailand. Yu said TRYC is currently in the process of researching and selecting organizations in each of the four countries.

“One of our goals is to make sure we set up long term relationships with the organizations in these countries and provide continuous aid down the road,” Yu said.

TRYC is considering focusing on education-based aid, a form of aid she said she thinks will hold a particular appeal to the Yale community, Yu said.

Janum Sethi ’05 is researching organizations in her native India to receive the Yale money. She said TRYC’s goal was to fund the reconstruction of schools that were destroyed by the tsunami in four nations. In India, where no schools were destroyed, Sethi said TRYC is considering an organization with educational aspects that works with children orphaned by the tsunamis, among others.

“We’re looking for nationally recognized local organizations,” said Sethi, a native of Delhi, India.

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