OU student group collects donations for arriving Afghan refugees


Volunteers organizing baskets from the Shia Student Association at the University of Oklahoma. (Provided/ OU Shia Student Association)

About 1,800 Afghan refugees are expected to arrive in Oklahoma in the coming weeks, but they’ve left their homes with nearly nothing.

The donation drive by the Shia Student Association at the University of Oklahoma recently to help feed and clothe these incoming refugees was more successful than imagined.

Zille Huma is a co-president and founder of the Shia Student Association and said she felt an urge to help.

“Our group, I think, was just a tool to tell everybody that there’s a need and we can be the source to help,” Huma said.

The Shia Student Association received 200 cans worth of food along with clothing and menstrual items despite just six days of advertisements on campus and social media.

Huma said she initially thought a fundraiser would be the only way to help, but when Muslims 4 Mercy reached out, she knew there was more to be done.

“Me as an American, there’s people coming in, but as somebody coming in, think of all that [they’re] leaving behind,” Huma said.

Huma and her fellow executive board set up an Afghan Care Basket drive accepting any and all donations. Huma said although they were accepting any donations, nothing could have prepared her for what one person tried to donate.

“There was somebody who was (direct messaging) us,” Huma said. “She’s like ‘I’d like to give you guys a queen-sized bed’ and I’m just like, I don’t know how I’m gonna fit that on my car you know?”

While a queen-sized bed may not always be easy to transport, Huma said everyone involved in the drive made it more successful than she ever imagined.

“It was all the people that collaborated,” Huma said. It was all the people that came and helped pack the baskets. It was all the people that helped advertise. It was them that made it possible and it was them the reason that we have all of these donations.”

Gaylord News is a reporting project of the University of Oklahoma Gaylord College of journalism and Mass Communication. For more stories from Gaylord News visit gaylordnews.net .