In the aftermath of devastating earthquakes affecting Turkey and Syria, Ahmad Saleh ’22 M.P.H., Ehsan Abualanain ’22 M.P.H., and Madison Novosel ’23 M.P.H., co-founders of the NGO MakeDeathsCount, have created a fundraiser to assist their nonprofit partners in Turkey and Northwest Syria.
MakeDeathCounts seeks to improve the documentation of deaths and causes of death in low- and middle-income countries, where such information can be crucial to identifying and adequately addressing public health issues. At the time of the earthquake, the organization had been in the midst of their pilot program—a partnership with an NGO based in Turkey and operating in Northwest Syria. Their partner NGO was near the epicenter of the earthquake, leading not only to the injuring of many healthcare workers, but also the displacement of even more. Therefore, MakeDeathsCount has worked to assist displaced workers in their relocation by creating a fundraiser with a goal of $5,000.
“We were just trying to support our partners,” Ahmad explained, “because we felt that we have this duty to them, this responsibility to them, to use our platform in any way we can to be able to support them during this time of need.”
However, as a young organization, MakeDeathsCount was in need of a fiscal sponsor to assist in their efforts. The organization soon reached out to Dwight Hall, which was able to provide support.
“When we finally got word that Dwight Hall actually offers that, we were ecstatic, honestly, because we didn’t realize we had that resource back at home at Yale,” Ahmad said. “We reached out, and within a week, we already signed the memorandum of understanding…the support was incredible.”
Looking forward, MakeDeathsCount seeks to help partners in the immediate term and to support them and their work in the long term. While relocation is the most pressing issue, Ahmad, Ehsan, and Madison also emphasized how assisting their workers even after the earthquake will allow for crucial data collection. Therefore, the organization is always looking for new partnerships, volunteers, and contributions.
“If there are students that are interested in working with us and learning about what we do,” Ahmad said, “we’re always happy to engage with [them].”
For more information on MakeDeathsCount and ways to get involved, visit the website at makedeathscount.org, or the organization’s LinkedIn. For direct financial support, the organization is accepting contributions through GoFundMe and PayPal.