Photo Credit: El Mundo

by Marwan Kamel

Last Sunday students of the Aqueduct Residence Hall in Segovia channeled funds, which had previously been reserved for an opening party, towards a charity relief program for inhabitants of the Palm Island, in Spain’s Canary Islands, following the eruption of the Cumbre Volcano.

Cristina Alonzo is the director of two residence halls that house university students in Segovia and the other in Valladolid. Although she’s just a regular citizen, after hearing about the tragedy in La Palma, Alonzo planned a charitable donation to the people affected, “Instead of throwing an opening party for the first-year students, I got the idea to donate the budget towards the Palma situation.” After proposing the idea to the students of the residences she decided to move forward with the plan. “The reaction of the students was very good and thus, we were able to send proceedings successfully through the Maria Reparado Foundation.”

Alonzo got the idea following a conversation she had with her kids on Sunday evening about the eruption. All 130 students of both Residence Halls that she directs accepted the idea of donating directly. In addition, many of them added personal donations, depending on their own capabilities, to the total unspecified amount donated.

The Cumbre Volcano eruption on September 17th, the first since 1971, caused over 5,000 people to evacuate the island immediately. As of October seventh, the eruption has affected or destroyed over 1,200 buildings, but no casualties were reported. Pedro Sánchez, Prime Minister of Spain visited the island shortly after the eruption to see the situation first-hand. Furthermore, Pope Francis expressed “closeness and solidarity with those affected by the eruption of the volcano on the island of La Palma,” at the Angelus on Sunday, 26th of September. 

The reaction of ordinary citizens to help those in need during times of tragedy is an inspiration, and stories like this show that humans are capable of overcoming immense tragedy when working together. Alonso’s and the students’ contributions to La Palma serve as a reminder that humans can help each other overcome anything and that small acts of kindness matter.

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