Muslim, South Asian, Hindu student associations hold flea market for Pakistan flood relief

Four student organizations sold donated and new items to raise money for Helping Hand for Relief and Development

Muslim, South Asian, Hindu student associations hold flea market for Pakistan flood relief

Sophomores Magnolia Mead and Summer Anwer sell flowers and clothes to AU students at the flea market. 

The Muslim Student Association, Sunrise Movement at AU, South Asian Student Association and Hindu Students Association hosted a flea market fundraiser for flood relief in Pakistan on Wednesday.

The event took place outside Butler Pavilion and had tables selling secondhand clothes, chai, books, flowers and henna. All sale proceeds went to Helping Hand for Relief and Development, an organization that provides assistance to countries in disaster situations around the world. Founded in 2005, Helping Hand helped over 176,000 people in the wake of the recent Pakistan floods. 

Summer Anwer, a sophomore in the School of International Service and MSA member, came up with the idea to hold a flea market. 

In Pakistan, the monsoon season lasts from June to September. This year, the floods were heavier, longer and more relentless than Pakistan has seen in decades, according to NASA’s Earth Observatory.  

“I wanted to do a very active fundraiser,” Anwer said. “It's very hands-on, very engaged with the community so we can educate them on the floods. The flea market just kind of happened because I was thinking, well, everyone always has something to donate.”

In the week leading up to the flea market, some of the participating clubs called on students to donate books, accessories and clothes to sell at the event. Each of the four clubs involved advertised the market on their Instagram accounts. 

Anwar said she thinks it’s imperative for students, especially those in SIS, to understand the magnitude of real-world problems.

“We don’t have much of a spotlight compared to more predominantly white organizations, so it’s definitely important that we are supported by AU so that we can be on the same level,” she said.

As a collaboration between four clubs in response to a recent issue, the event was organized with the goal of raising money, but also awareness of the humanitarian crisis the flooding has created for Pakistani residents. 

“Having a shared solidarity around these movements is really important, so we really like collaborating with other clubs,” said Qudsia Saeed, a junior in the School of Education and member of MSA.

“This is very high stakes; this is very relevant,” Saeed said. “It’s something that we really are passionate about, and that's where all these clubs come together.”

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