The devastation from the 7.1 magnitude earthquake that struck just miles southeast of Mexico City on Sept. 19 has prompted a response from a trio of exchange students at Maple Ridge Secondary School.
Grade 12 student’s Ricardo Colón and Pedro Hernández, along with Grade 11 classmate Palmela Oliver left their homes in Mexico just more than a month ago to move to Maple Ridge for the start of the new school year. But the tragic events of two earthquakes in the span of two weeks have the students thinking as much about their homeland as they do their own studies.
“I really wanted to do something,” said Colón. “I felt something in my heart. I’m far away from home and not able to do anything, but then I thought I could start to fundraise.”
Colón, along with Hernández and Oliver have started a gofundme page in hopes of raising $3,500 to send back to the Red Cross of Mexico.
There are 273 confirmed deaths from the quake, with more than 1,900 injuries. The Sept. 19 earthquake struck on the anniversary of a 1985 Mexico quake that killed nearly 10,000 people.
Colón is from Metepec, and Oliver is from the neighbouring city of Toluca, which is just 60 kilometres west of Mexico City. Hernández home is in Irapuato, 350 kilometres northwest of the Mexican Capital.
All three said after watching the initial videos of the devastation, their first thoughts were with their family. The trio said they felt compelled to help in any way they could.
“I started this because a lot of my friends back home are helping right now,” said Colón. “They are gathering food and supplies to help. Other ones are physically on the ground taking building parts out and helping people out of the rubble.”
Oliver and Hernández reiterated that being so far away from home has been difficult while their friends and family back home are experiencing such hardships.
“I feel bad that I can’t be there to help and support them directly,” said Hernández. ”But I realize there are other ways to help so we set up the online page.”
The gofundme page has a target of $3,500. Colón said with the help of the school and fellow students sharing the page on social media channels, the goal is realistic.
“No matter where you go in the world, you will find Mexicans,” said Colón. “We are a united nation and we will help, no matter where we are. Canada has been great. It is here for you too.”
To donate, visit www.gofundme.com/relief-for-mexico-city.