Local Elementary Students Donate to Help Morocco

Morocco earthquake damage | Photo by Alexi Rosenfeld/Getty Images

An Arlington school collected donations from students to send to those affected by the 6.8 magnitude earthquake that left thousands in Morocco dead or injured last week.

The earthquake occurred around 11:11 p.m. local time on September 8. It struck about 50 miles southwest of Marrakech, a popular tourist destination with a population of roughly 920,000 people.

Over 2,900 people have died and roughly 5,500 have been injured, making it the deadliest Moroccan earthquake since 1960, when a 5.9 magnitude quake killed between 12,000 and 15,000 people, according to CBS News.

Effects from the quake could be felt across many parts of the country, as more than 380,000 people were affected in some way, according to ReliefWeb.

King Mohammed VI held an emergency response meeting on Thursday and said that the government could support the rebuilding of 50,000 homes by providing funds based on the amount of damage, according to AP news.

Many of those affected have already begun the process of finding new housing. 

Ait Brahim Ouali said she will remain in her hometown with the help provided by the government but is not confident the support will be enough to sustain her old lifestyle.

“We are afraid for the future. We just started the new school year, but the earthquake came and ruined everything,” she said, according to AP News. 

“We just want somewhere to hide from the rain.”

Ricardo Pires, a spokesperson for the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), said the organization is dedicated to helping more than 100,000 children impacted by the quake.

“Children get separated from their families. They might be displaced, on the move, and not knowing where to go to stay safe,” he said, per AP News. 

“This is always a major risk in humanitarian disasters or when earthquakes like this break, and it’s very hard to reach certain areas.”

Closer to home in North Texas, an administrator from an Arlington school for 1st through 4th graders heard about the earthquake and decided to help as best she could.

“…[W]hen there’s something you can do, you need to do it,” Dr. Sarah Schecter, Head of the Lower School at The Oakridge School, told NBC 5 DFW.

Schecter got in contact with the parent of one of the school’s students, who is originally from Morocco and was planning on making a trip to the country. 

After that, she made an announcement at an assembly and explained the situation to her students.

“I told them about the earthquake and that maybe there’s something they can do to help, and if they have a dollar bill or two to contribute, that I’ll be collecting the very next day. I told them I wasn’t going to send a note home to their parents because I didn’t just want their parents giving them money, I wanted them to remember and take it to heart,” said Schecter, as reported by NBC 5.

Schecter said she was proud of her young students for taking the initiative since “A lot of their parents didn’t even know why they were giving me their ice cream money.”

In total, the students raised a little over $200, which Schecter used to buy resources such as batteries, flashlights, and medicine, according to NBC 5. 

“If we raise a bunch of children who are really smart but … they’re not good people, it’s going to be limited what they can do. But if they’re really smart and they’re really kind, it will be amazing what they can do to change the world,” said Schecter, per NBC 5.

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