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Heartache and cake at the bake sale for Turkey and Syria

Tables of baked goods filled the hall of the Pieter de la Court Building on Tuesday 14 February. Students were holding a bake sale to raise money and gain attention for the earthquake in Turkey and Syria. It was a resounding success, with a visit by State Secretary Gunay Uslu as the cherry on the cake.

Student Kerem at the Bake Sale

It's Tuesday and all day long enthusiastic students will be selling muffins, cake and Turkish delicacies. Visitors can also make an extra donation with a QR code. At 11 in the morning, several plates are already empty. Will they have enough? ‘There’s still a bit in the freezer but we hadn’t expected it to go so fast,’ says one of the organisers.

The students taking part in the Bake Sale wanted to do something – something other than sit at home in the knowledge that family and friends have lost everything and are fighting for their lives. Deniz, a psychology student, says, ‘We don’t just want to raise as much money as possible but also want to keep interest in the disaster alive. It’s an enormous region that has been destroyed. You really can’t rebuild it in a week. They’re going to need consistent aid.’

‘Baking was a welcome distraction from the flood of sad news.’

Kerem, a political science student, says his home village has been hit by the disaster. It has been hard, he says, to constantly follow the negative news, so he’s pleased to be able to do something. ‘I couldn’t focus at all on my studies and was checking the news the whole time. Baking was a welcome distraction from the flood of sad news.’

State Secretary Gunay Uslu and student Miray

The Bake Sale has brought people together, and this has given the students strength. And their achievements are admirable: they have raised 6,134 euros and State Secretary Gunay Uslu has popped by. She spoke to the students and was presented with a plate full of goodies.

The students are proud to have attracted the State Secretary’s attention. ‘This will help gain the attention we so desperately need,’ says Damla, a psychology student. ‘Then we really can make an impact. It’s hugely encouraging if your fight gets recognition, not just from Uslu but also from your fellow students.’

Vice-Dean Kristiaan van der Heijden is impressed that the students have managed to pull this off. ‘It really did come from the students themselves. All we did was support and facilitate. It’s great to see the community that has developed and fantastic that they are doing something for a good cause.’

Text: Nynke Smits
Photos: Suédy Mauricio

Would you like to help the victims of the earthquake in Turkey and Syria? The following fundraising campaigns have been launched at the university:

  • Leiden students are distributing posters with a QR code that makes it easy to donate to a number of aid organisations. The poster can be found here.
  • Students are manning an information stand in the main hall of the Pieter de la Court building. Drop by for a chat or make a donation with the QR code.
  • The USC  is raising money for the Red Cross and is holding a spinning marathon at the sports café on 15 February. There are three time slots with 24 places: 17-18, 18-19 and 19-20 hrs. If you are a member of the USC, you can sign up by clicking on ‘join this team’ on this page. If you’re not a member, you can join at sportcentrum@usc.leidenuniv.nl. In addition, Turkish pizza and soup will be on sale at the sports café on 15 February. The money raised will go to the Red Cross.
  • The Netherlands Institute in Turkey (NIT) has launched a fundraising campaign to raise money to help the communities that live close to their archaeological excavations rebuild their homes.
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