When an earthquake hit Syria and Turkey in early February, local youth were motivated to fundraise for the cause.

Fatima Alhussein is a Grade Five student from Blumenort School, and she says many people have lost their homes due to the catastrophe, including her family.  

“I actually have some family in those two countries, in Syria and Turkey, and I don't really want anything to happen to them,” Alhussein explains.  

This sparked the interest of her friends Natalie Barkman and Lily Karalash and other classmates, and they brought the idea to their principals. All decided to step up and help.  

“Fatima had wanted to sell stuff for her family in Syria and Turkey, and I agreed to help her with it. We went to several meetings with [principal] Mrs. Thiessen, and we decided where to put it and how to sell this stuff, and a lot of people helped,” Barkman says." 

Grade Five Blumenort School Students Fatima, Lily and Natalie(From left to right: Natalie Barkman, Fatima Alhussein and Lily Karalash)

They sold a variety of items that they handmade and brought from home.  

“We sell lots of crafts like paintings, handmade jewelry and lots of other stuff like candy and books. Lots of different craft supplies and Pokémon cards with hockey cards as well,” Karalash says, adding their bestsellers have been Pokémon cards and candy.  

Their goal was to fundraise $300 by the end of March, but they have surpassed that number with $466 in just three weeks. The girls say the money is being donated to the Canadian Red Cross.  

Alhussein says she has received “lots of support” from her classmates and school, which makes her “very happy.”  

“We had a very big crowd on our first day. We had lots of support from our school and all my friends. People just came in crazy, and things started selling out very fast,” Alhussein recalls.   

Stephanie Karalash, Lily’s mother, describes this as a “proud mama moment.”  

"I'm not just proud of my daughter, Lily. I think it's admirable for the rest of the students to want to do this as well," Karalash says. "When they started, there were only a few, and I guess others saw that this could be something that they could help with. They were like, ‘Hey, I want to join in.’ That's a very nice little group of kids that wanted to help,” 

While the fundraiser has wrapped up, the girls say there is a possibility of starting it up again.   

With files from Corny Rempel.