Students Organize Fundraiser for Syrian Refugees

Two St. Lawrence University student groups are co-sponsoring a benefit fundraiser for Syrian refugees in the Syracuse-area who are trying to establish their new lives in the United States.

The Syrian Benefit Gala will take place beginning at 6 p.m. on Friday, March 10, in Eben Holden and will feature guest speakers, Middle Eastern food and entertainment. The event is open to the public. There will be a $10 entrance fee, which students can pay using CWA or their meal plan. Organizers are requesting that guests "dress up" for the event.

Speakers will include Tarik Ait Maatallah, coordinator of Muslim life at St. Lawrence, Dr. Ali Al-Mudamgha, a cardiologist from the Syracuse area who provides services to Syrian refugee families, and Gans Wilder, a former CIA officer turned peacebuilder and founder of the Euphrates Institute.

The event is being co-sponsored by the St. Lawrence Islamic Culture Club and the St. Lawrence chapter of the Euphrates Institute, an organization meant to cultivate an environment of peace and understanding about the Arab World on campus and in the wider community.

St. Lawrence University sophomores, Iram Amin ’19 and Sahar Delwar ’19, began organizing the event as a way to draw attention to and support the humanitarian efforts of those such as Al-Mudamgha, who are actively supporting and assisting refugee families in Syracuse. The fundraiser will target education for refugee children.

“Many of the children have been out of school for over three years,” Sahar said. “The families only get $700 in assistance a month for food, shelter, etc., and it costs $600 to send one child to school.”

It is estimated that there are approximately 5,000 Syrian refugees, most of whom are women and children, currently living in the Syracuse region. Funds raised by the event will go toward supporting children's education.

In addition to the benefit gala, Sahar and Iram have also set up a Go-Fund-Me site for donations to be made online. Proceeds from the event and money raised online will be donated at midnight March 10. 

To learn more or to make a donation, visit