Have money, will travel

Have money, will travel

Senior Nimah Haq created a Facebook group to raise funds for an upcoming trip to India


It’s an age-old dilemma. A wanderlust maniac wants to go somewhere exotic. The wanderlust maniac doesn’t have enough money. Wanderlust maniac, meet Facebook.

Haq raised about $300 with the help her Facebook group's 38 members. Screenshot by Yaamini Venkataraman.Senior Nimah Haq applied for the Summer Volunteer Program at the Indian Muslim Relief and Charities organization, a program several of her friends had attended as well. In India, she would get to visit Hyderabad, Ahmadabad, New Delhi and Agra to work with poverty, communal riots and even legal cases for the 2002 Gujarati riot survivors.

Haq has traveled to her native Pakistan, but she has never been able to work with any of the impoverished people.

"On this trip you get to deal with the people directly. It’s not like you’re in a car and you’re driving past them like you do in Pakistan," Haq said.

Although Haq is usually a quiet person, she was loud on the Internet, asking several people to donate. One of her friends, senior Kavita Singh, knew about Haq’s application to the program. When she was accepted, Singh donated money to support her friend’s ambition.

"My parents are buying a house soon, so they couldn’t afford to send me [on the trip]," Haq said. "I thought [Facebook] was a good way to advertise and raise funds, but it didn’t work like I thought."

The total trip cost was $3000, which Haq had to have by April 25; she raised only about $300. But the fact that she can’t go on the trip doesn’t hide her passion for the issues.

"[When I see impoverished people], of course I feel sympathy," Haq said.  "I feel bad for them. At the same time, I don’t feel like giving them money will actually help. It’s a bigger problem than that, it goes to their background, their education, how their family started out. You want to help them, but it’s difficult."

Because Haq was accepted into the program this year, she will be able to go next year as long as she completes next year’s application. For now, she’s content with being "ahead of the game".