25 April 2024

Teens in Geelong helping earthquake victims in Türkiye and Syria

The youth group at St John’s Highton washes cars to raise money for earthquake relief. Photo: supplied.

By Maya Pilbrow

10 March 2023

A month on from the earthquakes in Türkiye and Syria, teens at a Geelong church have shown their support for victims of the devastation.

The youth group at St John’s Highton held a car wash fundraiser on 3 March, with all proceeds donated to UNICEF’s earthquake appeal.

The group washed and vacuumed cars, charging between $10 and $15 for their services.

The Reverend Mike Kicevski, who runs the youth group, said they raised over $800 in two hours.

Mr Kicevski said there was a great need to help the people impacted by the earthquakes.

“We thought, why not do our part the best we can and organise some kind of fundraiser?” he said.

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Open Doors Australia local Syrian partner Leyla[*], speaking from Aleppo in the country’s north-west, said it was important to direct resources to appropriate organisations.

She said the Syrian community was already dealing with the effects of a decade of civil war coupled with a serious economic crisis before the earthquakes hit.

“It’s very difficult for them to survive here. They are in survival mode constantly,” she said.

Leyla said international aid organisations with established mechanisms in the country were providing crucial support.

When asked how Australians could contribute to earthquake relief, she said it was important to recognise that resources were available at a local level in Syria.

“This is not about sending in trucks and tents and whatnot. This is really about supporting international organisations that already have a presence in this country,” she said.

[*] Referred to by first name only for safety reasons.

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