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Students collect for victims of Kenyan massacre

University of Copenhagen students are lighting 148 candles on Thursday for the victims of the massacre at Garissa University. They will also be doing a charity collection for the deceased, the survivors and their families

Two sisters from the University of Copenhagen (UCPH) have arranged a memorial and collection for the victims of the massacre at the university in Garissa, Kenya.

It takes place at Café Kommunen at CSS Thursday 9 April at 16:00 – one week after armed men from the terrorist organisation Al-Shabaab shot 148 people dead – most of them students – at Garissa University. Everyone is welcome. 148 candles will be lit and money collected for the victims and their families.

“It’s about collecting money, yes, but it’s just as much to get it out there: to tell people what happened,” says organiser Anna Cecilie Friis Bach, who studies economics. “The massacre hasn’t received much coverage in the Danish media.”

Still identifying victims

Having studied in Kenya for four month, the attack hit close to home for Anna Cecilie Friis Bach, who feared she might have known some of the victims. She tried to find out what she could do to help, and when she couldn’t find any existing initiatives she decided to launch her own.

“Something needs to be done for the deceased, the wounded and their families. Red Cross in Kenya are now working to identify the dead and to bring them to their homes so they can be buried. It’s complicated because many of the victims are from poor families, who cannot afford transport or a burial. At the same time, they need medication and doctors for the wounded and psychological help for the families.” says Anna Cecilie Friis Bach.

At the time of writing, 126 of the deceased have been identified. In an open Google document, friends and family are updating the list of the dead and adding stories, descriptions and memories to each name.

Students stand together

For Anna Cecilie Friis Bach an important aspect of Thursday’s memorial and collection in Copenhagen is that of students helping students: “It’s important to show that education means something. That one shouldn’t be afraid to go to school. It’s important for students in Kenya to know that there are others like them, who are thinking of them,” she says.

The money collected will go directly to Red Cross in Kenya for them to help the victims and their families.

The memorial will take place immediately before a previously organised event on the Boko Haram’s rise in Nigeria. People are welcome to stay for both. Like Al-Shabaab in Kenya, Boko Haram have targeted students directly. /

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