Antigonish, Nova Scotia, Canada

StFX for SAFE reaches $70,000 milestone; haircutting fundraiser, autobiographical play planned as fundraising continues for Syrian refugee crisis

April 18th, 2017
Celebrating the $70,000 milestone are several members of StFX for SAFE and the StFX Students’ Union, including l-r, Tarun Porter, Sarah Richard, Tareq Hadhad, Ben McGrath, Kohlin Rasenberg, Majd Al Zhouri, Evan Kolter, (bottom) Kristian Rasenberg, Norine Verberg and Joseph Khoury.

StFX for SAFE celebrated a new milestone recently – raising $70,000 in response to the Syrian refugee crisis – and has a new fundraiser planned for April 27 to keep the campaign moving closer to its $100,000 goal.  

StFX B.Ed. students and brothers Kristian and Kohlin Rasenberg plan to cut their long hair on Thursday, April 27 at 7 p.m. in Immaculata Auditorium during a fundraising event called “Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow.” The hair will be donated to a charity called Locks for Love, which makes hairpieces for children who lose their hair due to illness. The event is paired with a performance of “To Eat An Almond,” a play based on an original autobiographical short story written by local Syrian youth, Majd Al Zhouri.

“The rational for this is that at StFX for SAFE we believe we can help change and lessen suffering, for one family or one person at a time. By donating our hair we are providing hair to children suffering from a medical condition that has left them with no hair, and raising money that will be used to bring families here, a place where children can learn to live without suffering,” says Kristian Rasenberg, also a member of StFX for SAFE.

“I am excited to have reached $70,000 because it means that there is still a great amount of support for what SAFE is doing,” he says. “Hopefully the haircut campaign and seeing Majd’s play will move us even further along towards the $80,000 mark.”

Established by a diverse group of students, staff, faculty, and local alumni, StFX for SAFE is a fundraising campaign with a goal of raising $100,000 for the local group called SAFE, or Syria Antigonish Families Embrace. As of May 2016, the StFX for SAFE campaign has been able to sponsor a Syrian refugee family.

“With the war in Syria showing no signs of ending, and the need great, Kristian Rasenberg and his brother Kohlin decided to do one more fundraiser before the school year ends,” says Dr. Norine Verberg, co-chair of StFX for SAFE. “The event name is intended to remind us that, for millions of Syrians, the peace they were enjoying six years ago disappeared.”

L-r, Kohlin and Kristian Rasenberg

“We are excited to pair our haircutting fundraiser with a second performance of the one act play, “To Eat an Almond,” performed by future StFX engineering student Majd Al Zhouri,” Mr. Rasenberg says.

“It is an original play written by Brendan Ahern to tell Majd’s story “Blood Memories,” about living in Syria during the war. Majd received a standing ovation at the Theatre Antigonish One Act Play Festival last month. There wasn’t a dry eye in the room. Majd’s experience in Syria is exactly the reason we decided to do the haircut to remind us all that peace for Syrians was there one day and gone the next, and to ask Xaverians to continue to be generous with their help of Syrian refugees.”

He says the event will start with the performance of the play, a performance that reminds us how fragile peace can be and to encourage us to push for peace for Syria.  

Anyone interested in donating to StFX for SAFE, can make an e-transfer directly to SAFE at or use the GoFundMe page Tax receipts are given for all donations over $20. 

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