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‘Amara’s Read-a-Thon’: La Jolla third-grader raises money to help victims of flooding in Pakistan

Amara Khaleeli Hasan, a third-grader at La Jolla Elementary, started a fundraiser to help victims of flooding in Pakistan.
Amara Khaleeli Hasan, 8, a third-grader at La Jolla Elementary School, started a fundraiser to help victims of flooding in Pakistan and has pledged to read 50 pages a day about climate change and the environment.
(Samia Khaleeli)

To help people suffering after flooding in Pakistan, a third-grader at La Jolla Elementary School is pledging to read as much as she can and hopes others will pledge as much money as they can in return.

Amara Khaleeli Hasan, 8, started a fundraiser called “Amara’s Read-a-Thon for DEC Pakistan Floods Appeal,” which has raised more than $1,400 since Sept. 18.

The money will go to the Disasters Emergency Committee, a group of British nonprofits that raises money for emergency relief in disasters around the globe. Amara has specified that the money she raises be used for the Pakistan flooding.

The flooding began in mid-June after unusually heavy monsoonal rains and has killed nearly 1,700 people. Amara first read about it on a news app.

Amara, who is of Pakistani descent (her parents are American and British), learned more from her mother and other sources.

“I felt sad and I wanted to do something to help,” Amara said. She noted that about 500,000 people in Pakistan are still without enough food and shelter.

She began raising money via the read-a-thon, during which she has promised to read 50 pages a day on material related to climate change and the environment. Some officials and experts have blamed the heavy rains and resulting floodwaters on climate change.

The money will help those whose homes were destroyed “have clean water and food and clean houses,” Amara said.

Amara Khaleeli Hasan wishes more people would read about climate change.
(Samia Khaleeli)

“I feel really happy that I could do something to help,” she said.

The fundraiser has been publicized through her parents’ social media accounts and in her La Jolla Elementary classroom.

La Jolla/Riford Library youth services librarian Katia Graham heard about Amara’s fundraiser while Amara’s class visited the branch on a field trip and helped the third-grader compile a list of books.

“This little girl has been working very hard to help a cause she truly cares about,” Graham said. “It was an honor to recommend some books on climate change for her to read.”

Amara also inspired a “Save the Environment Reading List” that is now on display in the children’s area at the library, Graham said.

Amara wishes people would donate more to help those affected by climate change. “I want people to start [to] help other people,” she said.

She also encourages others to have their own read-a-thons and learn as much as they can about climate change.

One book Amara recommends is “The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind,” William Kamkwamba’s memoir set in his drought-plagued childhood village in Malawi.

“It was so sad, and it had so much description. I almost felt like I lived there,” Amara said.

Amara’s fundraiser will run through Tuesday, Oct. 18. To donate, visit justgiving.com/fundraising/amara-reads.