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Donations to rebuild Kerala

Algonquin’s Malayali students and alumni club are raising donations in the aftermath of the floods that devastated their hometown in Kerala, India.

The news of the heavy rains made international headlines in August which led to the evacuation of more than one million people from their homes according to The Independent.

“A lot of people are still homeless,” said Sreehemand Sreekumar, a second-year student in the manufacturing engineering technician program and secretary of the club.

The club was founded in June for students and alumni from Kerala with the initiative to promote cultural activities. But Sreekumar said that the main purpose is to conduct charity work.

“Most of the members have a big background working for a non-profit organization,” said Sreekumar, who himself was a member of the Helping Hands Organization back in Kerala.

The club’s treasurer Jerin Kunnath, who is a student in the culinary management program, is collecting donations via Interac or cash in order to send them to the Chief Minister’s Distress Release Fund (CMDRF).

Sreekumar said that the funds they collect will help in providing food and supplies for those who have lost their homes and are now residing in shelters. It will also contribute to rebuilding Kerala.

Originally from Trivandrum, the capital of Kerala, Sreekumar said that his city did not suffer as much as other areas such as the Ernakulam district where his cousin, Anosh KS, is assisting with relief efforts.

“He is working as the main activity leader, collecting food from the homes, gathering and dropping it off at the relief camps,” said Sreekumar.

Aithel Shibu, who is studying environmental management and assessment at the college, said that her cousin died while taking part in a rescue operation.

“He was helping everyone move to the camps,” she said. “He was going back to check if there was anyone left but accidentally, his boat tipped over and he fell into the river. After two days, his body was found in the river.”

Sreekumar estimates that it will take at least six months to rebuild Kerala and encourages students to donate to the relief efforts. The club will be taking donations until Oct. 19 but students can also directly donate to CMDRF’s online portal.

For more information on ways to help, students and staff members can contact the Malayali club directly via their Facebook page.

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