Jaden Lawen, a 17-year-old Canadian, has raised upwards of $22k for relief efforts in Beirut, Lebanon. Lawen is from Halifax, Nova Scotia, but he has both family and friends in Lebanon.
When he became aware of the devastating explosion on August 4, his first reaction was to check on the wellbeing of his friends and family.
Two or three of my friends got cut by glass, and my dad’s second cousin got really badly injured and is lucky to be alive.Jaden Lawen
Normally, Lawen spends a span of the summertime in Lebanon, too. But the COVID-19 pandemic stopped him from travelling to the country. Far away in Canada, he witnessed it all secondhand as he watched videos and saw pictures of the aftermath online.
But he wanted to take action:
I wanted to actually go down there and physically help the people with my own hands, but obviously, because of corona, I can’t do that. So what I ended up doing, a week later, I was like, ‘Why don’t I just raise money for people in Lebanon?’Jaden Lawen
Lawen set up a fundraising page online to encourage Halifax locals to help Beirut from a distance. He named it Halifax to Beirut with Love. It links straight to the Canadian Red Cross, and it has already raised more than $22k. And that’s just in a span of two days.
The Lebanese community in Halifax is strong, and the city has had its own experience with a tragic explosion. Halifax, similarly a port city, saw a ship full of WWI explosives collide with another ship in 1917. Thousands died, and thousands more suffered injuries.
Back then, the rest of the continent banded together to send relief funds to Halifax.
Now, Halifax is paying that help forward. But donators are not restricted to Halifax. People “from as far away as Australia and the U.S.” have donated using Lawen’s link, too.
Article source: CBC
Featured image source: Jaden Lawen