LAHAF INC wrote -
UPDATE! October 31, 2015
My scary Halloween under a full moon- by Alison Thompson
Photos by Doug Kuntz
SOS- CALLING ALL SOLAR ANGELS!!!!
You may be thinking how does she have time to post social media updates -well I don't but I know its important to get the message out to the world and to get more solar lights and volunteers here so I am substituting my sleep to write this. I have had exactly 3 hours sleep in the past 72 hours as refugee boats arrive at all hours of the day and night in need of our assistance.
There are no words to describe this mass exodus of Syrian, Iraq and Afghan refugees- thousands land 24 hours a day wet /cold /hungry and in shock with a lot of babies and children. The refugees have all been humble, kind and really good people--and I’ve never once felt scared. Many of the women have lost their babies on the long walk to get here.
Today one man washed ashore whom had left Iraq a year ago after his mother and sister were repeatedly raped and killed by Isis. He had made it to the Turkish coast but the Turkish mafia charge 1000's of $ for refugees to cross the 6 mile stretch to Greece ( which usually costs anyone else 10 Euros on a safe ferry- but refugees are not allowed on ferries ) so he had to work the long year to get the money to pay for his boat fare. In turkey he was beat daily and when he reached the boats he said they were beating people and holding guns to their heads and robbing them of any luggage they had left- the boats are mostly entirely filled with families and children. They mafia then broke his leg and threw him in the boat and later he was thrown overboard. the Turkish mafia just laughed when the boat capsized full of children and they sped away on another boat. I found him close to hypothermia in a bad way but he survived and I tried to convince him he was finally safe but his eyes told me he didn't believe me.
Tonight it is very cold and the refugee boats have struggled in high winds and waves and have tipped over all day and night in the very dark waters. Many children died and the ones that made it were blue. We worked hard in CPR to save their lives -one survived and all the others died. After we got back from that rescue to our base we saw 3 boats capsized in front of us close to shore so we had to scramble to act fast before the sea swallowed them up or scrapped them across the rocks-
The solar puff lights are a true God-sent and they light up the dark makeshift hospital bus and are given to refugees as they land wet and cold where they then have to walk 50 kilometers uphill carrying babies and children to the refugee camps.
These are just 2 stories of 1000's we hear from daily and my little mind can’t begin to think of the solution as its too big but I do know I can help these people right in front of me and the solar lights are so needed so please step up to donate for more lights to reach us. When there is time I try to blow bubbles at the kids and dab perfume on women who haven't washed in weeks but tears just seem to leak out of my face as we all shiver in the cold hugging each other in the purest form of love. I try to tell them I love them in broken Arabic or Farsi and then later back at the local cafe volunteers meet and cry and laugh and just try to cope with the trauma of the past 24 hours- ready for the next day full of the same. Please donate to get more lights here asap the next batch leave on November 13th---love alison
"Al Amal" is the Arabic term that means "to provide light for a brighter tomorrow"
LAHAF in parntership with Thirdwave Volunteers and One Light is hosting an Emergency solar puff light and supply drive for the Syrian and Iraqi refugees in Greece and Turkey to be delivered this weekend.
The situation with the Syrian and Iraqi refugees fleeing from thier homes and communities is very serious. It is so dangerous in their own countries that these families are forced to walk hundreds of miles with small children and babies with only what they can carry on their backs.
They then pay $1000's to pile into a overcrowded, unsafe small rubber boat to reach the entry point to Europe on the Greek isle of Lesvos. As the boats approach the coastline, the skippers slash the rubber boats to make them sink, forcing the Greek Coastguard to rescue everyone... causing many to drown.
The refugees arrive cold, wet and hungry and many are in shock- one woman gave birth on the beach a few days ago while 3 others drowned. Upon arrival, volunteers provide dry clothes, food and medical attention. The refugees then continue on yet another long walk to reach the refugee camps.
We have had emergency calls over this past weekend pleading for solar lights as the large tents and camps in so many areas are pitch black. The photos attached are tents full of people and at night its pitch black inside.
Most of us underestimate the importance of light in our lives. In the case of refugee and IDP (Internally Displaced Persons) camps, light provides a staggering percentage of increased safety for the residents of these camps.
An example of how important and powerful light is with these dire situations was after the Haitian earthquake. When the large solar lights were down due to damage or theft in a camp of over 65,000 residents, the incidents of rape and violent attacks went up 80% overnight.
Alison Thompson, founder of Third Wave Volunteers, will be headed to the Greek Isle of Lesvos this weekend to deliver solar lights and provide medical support to the refugees camps.
Alison has been a full time humanitarian volunteer for the past 15 years after working as a first responder on the Sept 11th 2001 attacks. She just returned from distributing solar lights in remote Nepal villages that had not had any aid or support since the earthquakein April. She is a beacon of light and unconditional love for all and is a master at cutting through red tape to get help directly to the people.
A huge thank you to Ruby Stewart, Alyssa Bonagura and the The Sisterhood band for the "One Light" video. Alice Min Soo Chun ( the solar puff inventor). Doug Kuntz for the photos and who has been our ground contact documenting and providing us constant information.
LAHAF in partnership with Third Wave Volunteers is US based 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization that connects communities with the organizations, tools and resources to survive, grow and rebuild their lives .
Please consider a monetary donation today so we can bring as many lights and supplies as possible. Each light is $15
On behalf of the refugees, the volunteers, and our network of partner organizations we thank you for sharing your light....