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Alison Thompson's Fundraiser:

Third Wave Volunteer #IGIVELIGHT campaign.

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owner profile imageAlison tells the story of the Syrian refugee crisis to CBS ...
February 23, 2016

BENEFITING: LAHAF INC

Alison Thompson

THE STORY:

PHOTOS BY DOUG KUNTZ and CHRIS MORROW

To provide women and children refugees with fold up origami waterproof solar puff lights which give 8-12 hours of light at night and then recharge during the day in the sun.

MAY 1st - 2016- We are currently delivering the Solar Puff lights to Idomeni Syrian refugee camp at the Greek/ Macedonia border and 18 other refugee camps throughout Greece where 53,000 refugees are stranded at closed borders. The camps lack so many needs and are very dark at night. Everyone is begging us for the lights and we are doing our best to raise money to take 1000's with us each trip. I woud love to take 15,000 lights back with me this Sunday May 1st if we could find some Super Angels!! Please join us.

For the past 9 months our work has been on the island of Lesvos Greece where over 800,000 refugees have been landing.

The refugees on the North Shore of Lesvos Greece land at night in many dark rocky unsafe areas and on landing many refugees have to walk 31 miles up a dark mountain to the dark refugee camps (often carrying babies, children and accompanied by many old people with canes) We also distribute the solar lights directly to people sitting in the dark refugees camps of MOIRA, PIPKA and KARA TEPE. Besides the obvious and desperate need for light – the Solar lights are the only joy we see on the island where children’s scared faces change to great excitement when they are given these magic solar lights.

THE STORY:

http://www.miamiherald.com/opinion/op-ed/article58883703.html

BY ALISON THOMPSON

thirdwavevolunteers.com

Love on the Islandof Lesvos-

SKALA SIKAMINEAS, GREECE — Standing in the harbor of this Greek village on the island of Lesbos, I am holding yet another soaking wet little girl with blue lips. Minutes before she had been sinking in the deadly Aegean sea crossing from Turkey to Greece. Her parents had fled Syria with only a cellphone and cash after their house had been bombed and ISIS had shot three generations of their relatives in cold blood.

My heart swells as I spot tiny specks of orange lifejackets bobbing like oranges in a low-riding boat. The rescue whistles blow, and volunteers from all nations jump into action. The refugees are closer now, and 50 feet from shore the screams of terror begin as two panicked refugees jump out, setting off a crushing stampede as children and babies are catapulted from the boat into the dark sea. 

Most Syrians don’t swim. I catch sight of a small body in a puffy pink jacket floating away and I plunge into the water to reach her in borrowed time. I struggle to plant my feet on the slippery rocks below as the weight of her lifejacket and wet clothes strain my lazy muscles to work even harder. 

By the shore, volunteers call for stretchers in five different languages, but I am focused on one child’s heartbeat. Finding no pulse, I fumble at her clothes, free the airway and pump her tiny chest looking for life. After two cycles of CPR, water sputters from her mouth and I turn her over to allow the sea to escape. She is not in good condition, but she is alive. Children and babies are quickly being passed, volunteer to volunteer, to the safety of shore, and we smile and hug the families who were almost swallowed by the sea.

Back on the shore, I reach for a bottle of bubbles to help calm another restless baby and eye the two teenage girls who have been raped by ISIS. They remain silent, and their dark lashes spy my every move. With new eyes, I scope the refugee journey of heading toward the “promised land,” but finding only paper towns. In Lesbos, I have seen the face of all our gods, where humans embrace and pain is absorbed into a love without borders.

Volunteers work day and night in rain and snow, huddled together around fires and in rental cars, tracking the boats and sending rescue teams out into the angry sea. We rush another hypothermic pregnant woman along the darkened shoreline now lit with magic bright solar lights and wait and pray, always ready with emergency blankets and food and dry clothes. 

The volunteers share jubilation in the safe rescues — and bottomless despair when we learn they have capsized and everyone has drowned.

After five months of volunteering in Lesbos, my brain can’t solve the larger problems of a world where leaders are also struggling to find answers. I do know that I can help these suffering humans, but I am not naïve enough to think that a terrorist couldn’t get through any border or inspire people across many nations. 

Syria’s civil war is the worst humanitarian crisis of our time. Half the country’s pre-war population — more than 11 million people — have been killed or forced to flee their homes. Last year, more than 800,000 Syrians arrived by sea and in them I have met beautiful, educated families who are just like us. 

When did we become so fearful? The Sept. 11 attacks taught me not to live in fear or give in to terrorism. If the world turns its back on the refugees, they will be forced to return to Syria and then ISIS wins.

Where has all the love gone in the world? We are not being asked to go shave our heads and become monks, but to imagine a world where everyone does their part, so that the karma banks will overflow with blue-chip stocks of compassion and we all become “billionaires on the inside.”

Imagine a world where souls are more valuable than money. Isn’t that the way it was meant to be?

It’s easy to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, but now humanity asks us to transform fear into love. To be in the wrong place at the right time.

Alison Thompson is a paramedic and the founder of Third Wave Volunteers working with Syrian refugees on the Greek island of Lesbos. She is the author of The Third Wave book and film about Volunteering.

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NPR highlights a glimpse behind the scenes with Alison Thompson from Third Wave Volunteers to share the and complex realities of responding and coordinating in Lesvos. 

http://wlrn.org/term/alison-thompson

NPR highlights a glimpse behind the scenes with Alison Thompson from Third Wave Volunteers to share the and complex realities of responding and coordinating in Lesvos. 

This just in.. on her 5th mission Alison tells the story.

http://miami.cbslocal.com/2016/01/21/south-florida-woman-helps-light-the-way-for-syrian-refugees/

Please follow Chris Morrow for up to date reporting from Lesvos.. 

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLBZ3oQ4gi6NuowSRampnucc-HciT_irFB

Mission #4.. well this should speak for itself... please continue to share and tell the story...

http://www.cnn.com/2015/12/18/world/syrian-refugees-lesbos-volunteer/

Mission#3 Update from Alison Thompson from the ground in Lesvos...

LOVE IS LOVE- where has all the love gone in the world?

Standing on the rocky shores of Lesbos Greece my eyes lock onto two specks of orange on the horizon and my heart swells. The refugees are upon us now- terrified wet and hungry- our whistles blow- they are 10 feet from shore and panic and screams begin.

the Syrian refugees are given the safer orange life jackets while the afghans and other nations are given black fake ones.

Where is all the love in the world?

On landing they kiss the ground and praise God for their lives while others sit in quiet shock- its the quiet ones we worry about.

I can't solve the larger problems of the world but i can help these people right in front of us.

We rush another hypothermic pregnant woman along the darkened shoreline now lit with magic bright solar puff lights and my care is focused on the heartbeat of two. 

Inside the Adventist makeshift bus hospital Dr Michael works alongside muslims, israelis and christians to save lives. There are no skin colors or religions here- we are frontline soldiers fighting for humanity before we exterminate each other. In front of me stand an educated afghan family whose father has been shot by the Talliban. They paid 26,000$ to cross from turkey to Greece and wait patiently for Maeve to finish cleaning his infected wounds as his young son smiles through his eyes due to his jaw being wired shut from being shot through his  jaw.

Many of the refugees will be forced to return home and now if the while world turns against them then iSIS and the rest of the brutal regimes win and will wait for them to return to kill them.

Where is the love in the world?

The turkish mafia charge 1- 2000$ per head for them to crios the deadly sea to freedom- how bad is it back home that forces this only path- it makes me think of the jumpers on Sept 11th.

A flashback to ten days ago with half drowned children dying in our arms and so many more bodies never found.- 2 nights ago a boat of refugees spent 10 hours sinking in their boat and an obese man jumped overboard so that they would live. He was found at 3am alone out in the black sea by James a volunteer for England.

In each new story my brain and emotions shut down to protect the innocent and i snap back into flight as the rescue whistles start again. Ten boat loads later another woman collapses into my love and i stroke her hair and repeat the few Arabic words i know " Hamdilla" Praise God" 

The grassroots -no red tape- lets get help straight to the people- and the volunteers on the ground help till they drop. From the amazing Rayyan Hariest who cooks for 1000's of refugees to the Lighthouse relief volunteers to Dr michael and his gang of Adventists to the the Third Wave Volunteers and to Platanos Solidarity shore team to all the other volunteer groups from all over the world. Aslam Obaid is a Syrian volunteer who stayed to help and he works endless shifts to tie it all together and a Thank you to Jen Adams from LAHAF works at homebase back in the USA so that we can function. We are all family now. 

Volunteering is a gift from the heart and it beats strong and never gives up.

Here is the LOVE from all nations and our hearts won't stop until they do.

love is love and the world doesn't work without it! love Alison

November 11- Update. Third Wave Volunteers have depoyed to Lesvos. We have two of our dream teams headed to Lesvos tomorrow to bring more solar puff lights, supplies and medical support led by Alison Thompson..

Temperatures are dropping as these boats keep coming. This crisis is growing so please continue to share our story and your light!

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 2000's per head for refugees to cross the 6 mile stretch to Greece ( which usually costs anyone else 13 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 the 1000's we hear from daily and my mind can’t begin to think of the solution 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. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kYgX6LSSjsg

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/meimei-fox/syrian-refugees-solar-powered-lights_b_8401334.html

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 $2000'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 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.

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....

www.thirdwavevolunteers.com

$19,445

MONEY RAISED
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65% Raised of$30,000 Goal

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The Team: $19,445 TOTAL RAISED SO FAR

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Fundraiser Title

Alison Thompson

Amount Raised

$17,715

 

59% Raised of$30,000 Goal

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Suriyati Graham

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$1,435

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$125

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$70

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$50

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JoAnn Mayer

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