6th February 2024 marked the first anniversary of the terrible twin earthquakes, which hit Türkiye and Syria in the early hours of the morning and were followed by numerous aftershocks. Almost 60,000 people died with thousands more injured. Homes were destroyed and around 1.5 million people were left homeless. An area of around the size of Germany was devastated with roads, schools and hospitals destroyed and agriculture and industry severely impacted, ruining livelihoods.

A year on, HalalBooking has presented a cheque to its charity partner, Islamic Relief, to begin work on the joint rebuilding project.

Ufuk Seçgin, Chief Marketing Officer of HalalBooking  described the response of HalalBooking’s customers as “amazing”. He continued: “Thanks to their support, we have been able to deliver funds totalling €200,000 to Islamic Relief and will be continuing to work with them on two exciting projects to give back hope to families and especially to children who are still suffering immense hardship”.

Since the disaster, Islamic Relief, has been on the ground supporting and helping rebuild the lives of those who have been so disastrously affected. Seçgin, accompanied by HalalBooking’s Chief Operating Officer, Enver Çebi visited the charity’s London office to present them with a cheque for €200,000, which was received by Tufail Hussain, UK Director of Islamic Relief and Rasha Mahmood, the charity’s Philanthropy and Partnerships Lead.

Hussain said: “I want to thank the customers of HalalBooking for their incredible generosity. Alhamdulillah, they have donated almost €100,000 towards our work, which has been matched by HalalBooking itself, making an impressive total of €200,000. This will make a huge difference to families in the region.”

The two organisations signed a Memorandum of Understanding regarding the joint project.

HalalBooking’s donation will finance the building of new homes in Syria as well as helping to rebuild a primary school in Kahramanmaraș in Türkiye. These vital projects will restore hope to the children of the region, allowing them to build their futures. HalalBooking will continue to update their generous customers on the progress of these projects.

At the time when the earthquake happened, Ufuk Seçgin was in Türkiye. He saw and heard first-hand accounts of the devastation, which prompted the company to launch a fundraising campaign with leading charity, Islamic Relief, pledging to match customer donations with a donation from the company of up to €100,000, making a total of €200,000.

Seçgin explained: “We are human, some of us are of Turkish origin like myself, so we felt morally responsible to do something in this devastating crisis, the scale is unimaginable. Obviously as a company with hundreds of thousands of customers we felt there was an opportunity to take the lead to ask our customers to support us.”

Türkiye is the world leader in halal-friendly beach resorts and is the destination most visited by HalalBooking's customers, so the company wanted to give something back to the country and people who had helped them deliver so many happy holidays.

At the time of launching the appeal to its customers, Elnur Seyidli, CEO of HalalBooking said: "We see it as a duty and an obligation to repay the hospitality of the Turkish people by helping them in their darkest hour, in this time of great need."

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