The couple you’re seeing in the photo snapped by IsraAID volunteer Boaz Arad last month puts a face on the massive wave of refugees whom the Israeli aid organization has been helping in Europe since the first week of September.
Arad explained on IsraAID’s Facebook page: “Exactly one month ago, a photo I took in Lesvos [Lesbos], Greece, of a Syrian man feeding his eight-month pregnant wife with an apple went viral. It got shared so many times, that it had reached the couple in the picture themselves. They contacted me over Facebook to let me know that they are safe and that they had reached their destination: Sweden.
“Two days ago another update came in. Say hello to their little princess — Luna.”
On September 23, Arad had related that the husband was shouldering a loaded backpack when they came ashore with 50 other refugees in a rubber boat. They crashed against the rocky shore and had to climb up a steep cliff to reach safety.
“‘Please take the backpack off your shoulders,’ we told the young Syrian refugee who was tending to his eight-month-pregnant wife, whispering words of love in her ears and feeding her slowly with an apple he was given by aid workers. The incredibly heavy backpack was not the only thing this caring husband carried with him. He was also carrying a plastic chair for his love.”
On October 14, Arad posted about an eight-month-old baby who had drowned the previous day on the way to Lesbos and was buried on the island.
“Once the funeral was over, IsraAID volunteers Dr. Iris Adler and Malek Abu Grara, who had spent the night with the grieving mother, went straight back to work — giving medical aid to the hundreds of refugees arriving each day on the beach.
“And as fate would have it, a day that had started with sorrow and grief ended with joy and happiness as a Syrian mother gave birth to a beautiful baby boy on the beach, right after getting off the boat she came on.
“Adler and Abu Grara treated both the new mother and the baby on the beach, and made sure an ambulance arrived to take them both to the hospital. Welcome to the world, little one. You’re safe now.”
Meanwhile, the organization recently sent Israeli volunteers to the United States to help clean up wreckage from catastrophic rainstorms and flooding in the Carolinas.
IsraAID workers in cyclone-hit Vanuatu, have been there since March offering psychosocial support, training healthcare providers and helping to install a gravitational water system to ensure sustainable safe drinking water for some 800 families.
In South Sudan, IsraAID recently delivered medical equipment to 46 health facilities across Terrakeka County following two years of training for local medical personnel. The state Ministry of Health praised IsraAID’s work: “Now equipped with both stronger medical knowledge and skills and vital medical equipment, the medical personnel of Terrakeka will be able to provide better health care and services to its population.”
The Israeli organization also has an ongoing presence in countries including Kenya, Nepal, Haiti and Sierra Leone. IsraAID’s HoneyAID farm project in Nepal is nearly ready to start operating as a beekeeping training center, honey-packing house, visitors’ center, beehive workshop and tree nursery employing 65 women.