All photos by Omaima Es-samaali/for The Daily Q
Shaken by last week’s mass killing of children and teachers at a school in Pakistan, many students in Education City have been working to honor the memories of the deceased.
Several gathered at a vigil on Friday to recognize the victims and their families. Wanting to do more than mourn, some are now encouraging Qatar residents to participate in a letter and card-writing drive.
Speaking to Doha News, Georgetown University in Qatar student Azka said she helped to organize the campaign as a way to express support for those traumatized by the tragedy. She continued:
“First, since we can’t go there, physically to help and console we could instead write it out. Write a card or a letter! To encourage, to offer support, tell them you believe in them. Offer empathy, offer your friendship (who knows, if this kicks off, we can start a pen-pal program, but that’s a bit ahead.)
The second reason is to kind of begin seeding, though its subtle, a concept of countering violence with non-violence. Fight back by reasserting your position – that you will help pick up every innocent that falls. And you won’t use the methods they did. You’re not putting up statuses and talking on Facebook, you’re reaching out first-hand to the people who got affected.”
Finally, she said, the third reason to help is to gain closure.
“141 died. Hundreds survived. They survived. Now, though, they are experiencing trauma and pain in unfathomable depth, and this is where we must come in.”
Azka added that letters have already been pouring in from people in Qatar, as well as from the UK and India. The team hopes to send the first batch of cards and messages by Jan. 1.
They will be hand-delivered to Peshawar’s Army Public School, which is closed until the new year.
“Right now the school, the city is in chaos and mourning, but the school will open again for the new term. And when it does in a few weeks, our cards and letters will be there waiting to offer support and love,” she said.
Letters and cards can be dropped off or mailed to Muhammad Siyab Panhwar, Room 115e, Theqah Hall, Majlis-al-Janoubi, Qatar Foundation, Doha Qatar 24144, or emailed to [email protected].