Burnsville High School exchange student fundraising for Turkey

It’s been more than two weeks since two massive earthquakes struck southern Turkey

The disaster hits close to home for one Burnsville High School foreign exchange student. Nehir Biyikli recalls seeing the devastating images.

"When I saw the video and images, I was so terrified," Biyikli told FOX 9.

On Feb. 6, two massive earthquakes struck southern Turkey, which is also known as Türkiye. 

"I was so scared that something happened to my family or people I know at first," Biyikli said. 

The 18-year-old is a foreign exchange student at Burnsville High School, but originally from the small town of Çankırı. 

Biyikli's family didn’t bear the brunt of the quakes, however the devastation still hit close to home. 

"Some of my really good friends lost their parents and friends and it was so sad," said Biyikli.

The natural disaster left millions homeless and killed tens of thousands of people.

The devastation prompted the high school senior to take action, partnering with the student group Burnsville Strong to raise money for earthquake relief. 

"It always feels good to do good things for others," said English teacher, Katie Burke. 

She is working with Biyikli on fundraising efforts, which have included a prize wheel and a paper airplane competition. 

They've raised more than $2,000 so far. 

"I think that one of the things that kids can learn is that you can help no matter how far away a tragedy is or how far away you feel from it, there’s always a way to impact someone close to you," said Burke. "One dollar equals to 18 Turkish liras and with five dollars we can get 60 bottles of water, turkey, bread and two blankets. So that means a lot to us." 

When it comes to making a difference, Biyikli said that this is just the beginning. 

"I hope that this money will go to the right place, and then they will at least have something to wear or eat and they will get better," said Biyikli.

For more information on how to donate toward earthquake relief, click here.