By Nicole Di Lullo
Cement gates and rubble is all that is left of Rodney Diverlus’ childhood home in Haiti.
On Jan 12., a 7.0 magnitude earthquake hit near Port-au-Prince, the Haitian capital.
“The house is gone, and that means the house next door is gone, and that means the house down the street or that little field down the street where we used to play soccer is gone,” Diverlus said.
His cousin and his cousin’s wife were living in the house. They are now missing. Diverlus and his family left Haiti when he was seven. But with his loved ones still living there, his parents and four sisters are simply waiting to hear news as it develops.
“It is inevitable that there have been casualties. It’s impossible for everyone we know to be safe. It’s hit my parents the hardest. Their lives are in Haiti — from coworkers, family and friends, to the church they were married in — so for them it’s like their world has crumbled,” Diverlus said.
In response to the disaster, the Ryerson community has mobilized their own fundraising efforts.
All donations will be matched dollar for dollar by the Continuing Education Students’ Association of Ryerson (CESAR), the Ryerson Students’ Union (RSU), the President’s Office and President Sheldon Levy personally.
Any donations from student groups and other on-campus fundraising efforts will be matched up to $5,000 each. For example, the RSU will give students the choice to round up their TTC passes to $110 from the original price of $107 over the next two weeks of sales. The extra $3 will be matched, turning it into a $15 donation.
Last week, CESAR passed a motion to donate $750 to Partners in Health, an organization that provides health care and supplies to poor regions such as Haiti.
“There needs to be direct financial contributions,” said Mohammad Ali Aumeer, president of CESAR.
“They are running out of supplies. Right now, people in Haiti don’t have food, water or medicine.”
Diverlus is planning to go to Haiti during reading week to help with whatever relief work is left to be done. “I think I’m. . . scared of truly seeing, even though it’s a month away, the devastation,” Diverlus said.
As of Tuesday afternoon, Ryerson had raised about $16,000, said Toby Whitfield, vice-president finance and services of the RSU.