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October 20, 2004

Subway victim's fund takes off

From: Washington Square News, United States - Oct 20, 2004

by Paul Whitlatch
News Editor

More than 20 people contacted CAS sophomore Eric Munson yesterday, pledging to contribute money to help the family of a Bangladeshi immigrant he tried to rescue from a fatal subway accident last weekend.

After a story WSN ran yesterday about Munson's effort, which included an e-mail address for interested donors, he received 23 e-mails -19 from strangers - offering to help the impoverished family of Syed Fazle Mowla, 67, of Queens.

Munson, a politics and religion double major, said such a high response so soon after the story was difficult for him to believe.

"It's overwhelming," he said. "It's really inspirational."

Munson tried to pull Mowla out of the way of an oncoming No. 6 train in the Canal Street subway station Saturday night after Mowla, who was deaf, stepped onto the tracks to retrieve a dropped hearing aid he had received only two months before.

Before Munson could lift Mowla onto the platform, a train hit and killed the immigrant, who supported his family in Bangladesh by sending them a $200 each month - the family's primary souce of income.

After the accident, Munson contacted Mowla's family and, with the help of the man's roommate in Queens, embarked on a mission to collect donations to help the family pay for the funeral costs and loss of Mowla's income. Munson already got the Bangladeshi consulate to ship Mowla's body home for free.

Munson hasn't responded to the e-mails yet. He has to finalize the provisions to collect the money. He plans to set up a bank account here to wire the money to the Mowla's account in Bangladesh.

Munson said many of the e-mails he received came from NYU parents, some of whom offered to collect donations from their workplaces and churches.

One of Munson's professors pledged to collect $200.

The first response, sent by CAS freshman Konica Ghosh, was e-mailed to Munson at 5:27 a.m., only 26 minutes after the online edition of WSN was sent to e-mail subcribers.

Ghosh said she had been sleeping at abnormal times after being sick.

"I was sitting around feeling sorry for myself, and then I read the story," she told WSN in an interview yesterday. "It changed my perspective on everything."

Ghosh, who is half Bangladeshi, said her father, like Mowla, immigrated to the United States with very little money in order to seek a better life. Ghosh said she planned to donate about $40 to the fund for Mowla's family.

"[The e-mail] just made me cry. It impacted me so much," she said. "I know how hard it is for families back there to support themselves."

To donate to the the fund for Mowla's family, contact Munson at: fund4syedmowla (at) yahoo (dot) com

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