Share / Discuss

A Helping Heart

Last fall, Pinar Karaca-Mandic ’98 was moved by the heartbreaking photo of 3-year-old Syrian refugee Alan Kurdi, who drowned when the rubber raft on which he was being smuggled to Greece flipped over.

A native of Turkey who is now an associate professor at the University of Minnesota’s School of Public Health, Karaca-Mandic took action, partnering with the U.S.-based, all-volunteer organization Bridge to Turkiye Fund, which supports the educational and health-care needs of refugee children in Turkey.

She’s raised almost $60,000 in grass-roots donations as well as $70,000 more in grants from the crowdfunding community Global Giving, which have allowed refugee children to receive school supplies, scholarships, language lessons, and arts classes.

She credits her fellow Swatties for their generosity in opening their hearts and wallets, but also for the myriad ways in which they’re addressing injustice.

“Our sense of community and our responsibility to think globally is engraved in our Swarthmore ed- ucation,” she says. “It’s so sad to see suffering and hard to find that moment to say, ‘I am the solution. I need to change things.’ I am proud to say that I finally found that moment, even though I wish I had done it earlier.”


To donate and/or learn more: