The summer of 2010 was a summer Izzah Khan will never forget — she was in Pakistan, her home country, during a disastrous flood.
More than two months after a monsoon left many homeless and more than 1,000 people dead, Penn State’s Pakistani Student Association leaders refuse to forget there are thousands of people in Pakistan who still need their help.
“People have the wrong idea about Pakistan. One person defines a nation — not all people in the country are like that,” Khan (freshman-public relations) said. “People think Pakistan is the breeding ground for terrorists and that’s not true.”
Khan’s eyes lit up as she began talking about her hometown of Karachi, known as the city of lights.
“I miss it all,” Khan said. “It was a really great hometown. Of all the cities, it had the most activities.”
With a laugh, Khan explained that she and her friends used to compare hometowns — she used to win.
“No matter where you grow up, it always stays with you,” she said. “Even though I’m here, Pakistan has significance to my life.”
Khan said the Pakistani government tried to limit the flood’s inevitable consequences. The flood did not hit khan’s hometown.
“Think about it — the government wanted them to leave their homes and their possessions,” she said. “Even if they fled and survived the consequences would have been the same — they would have no homes or clothes — so they chose to bear the burden.”
Khan said everyone was mentally prepared for the flood and watched television to stay informed about where the flood was hitting.
Shaking her head, Khan said her eyes were filled with tears as she watched live images of people being swept away by the water.
“When there is a part of your country in torture you don’t feel like doing anything fun,” she said. “There are your brothers and sisters struggling to bring their lives together. The last thing you care about it your summer break.”
According to CNN, the monsoon took 1,600 lives and left at least one million homeless.
College students started relief camps and raised money by going to popular destinations to get donations, she said.
When Khan returned to Penn State she refused to forget about the victims of the flood. Instead, she was determined to also help.
With the help of the Pakistani Student Association, Khan and the other members began raising money for the victims.
Yasar Awan (senior-science), president of the Pakistani Student Association, said the student organization has raised $1,500 in donations.
“The country is corrupt and poor. We are just trying to help out as much as we can and raise awareness because the media isn’t doing enough,” said Eijazahmed Mulla (sophomore-security risk analysis), the organization’s public relations chairman.
Khan said she was shocked to discover that many Penn State students were unaware of the flood. Khan said she was also disturbed by the media’s lack of interest in the flood, she said.
“I don’t know why it wasn’t that big of a deal here the way Haiti was. It was on TV when it first hit but I guess it became boring… even though thousands lost their lives,” she said.
Khan said the most important thing she wants from the Penn State community is for it to help raise money for flood victims.
“Please don’t let their cries go unheard,” she said. “The world is made up of people, not of countries.”