The little three-year old boy, Aylan has been headlining news around the world, reflecting the horrors of the refugee crisis. He is one of thousands unfortunate people that end up dead through their terrifying journeys in search of safety and a better life in Europe. A heartbreaking photo of a dead little boy who was found stranded on the beach has been breaking many hearts around the globe. The tragic end of his journey became the icon of the refugee crisis. The Mediterranean ocean has become nothing but a cemetery for Syrian refugees over the past year. However, during dark moments comes some of the finest inspiration. The little boy, flushed up from the sea in small baby-jeans and a red t-shirt was the wake-up call for Sami Abdallah, Jennifer Silverstone and Heidi Sleiman, the founders of humanitarian non-profit ‘Eyes on refugees’. ‘’I felt overwhelmed, helpless and angry that the world would let this happen. I was paralyzed with the thought that this could be my family… my beloved children washed ashore. After months of feeling quite sad, I knew that I needed to make peace with this situation or to do something. Inaction was not helping anyone.’’ Jennifer said about her wake-up call that lead to Eyes on Refugees.
A nurse, an activist and an engineer was all that was needed to bring hope to at least a few victims of what is referred to the biggest humanitarian crisis after WWII. Together they have come up with a business model that has so far been evoked in France and Greece. The mission is to provide displaced, fragile people with basic needs while ensuring sustainable solutions that maintain their dignity and eliminate social injustice. Eyes on Refugees works closely with both US and European governments in order to create safe houses for unaccompanied minors and women traveling alone. While on the ground they are assessing for sustainable options that can help in the long term crisis.
Sami Abdallah at a refugee camp in Europe
‘’It is hard to understand the horror and danger minors and females in particular are facing during their journey to Europe, even more so when they arrive to Europe. Minors and women are the most vulnerable group in any crisis, even more so in a crisis that is a result of war. They are fragile, have limited language skills and an easy target to abuse.’’ Said Sami before he continued telling telling about specific cases he had witnessed during his time on the ground at refugee camps in Europe
‘’All refugee camps have easy access to mafia that are trying to profit from this catastrophe. Nevertheless, Calais camp in France has been left without supervision of any kind. You can it in the eyes of those who have been abused. They reflect loss of faith in humanity. We met a young woman with a child that had been separated from her husband as they were forced to jump a fence on the Greek border to Macedonia. The horror she had been through is equivalent to a horror movie. Even worse. After a lot of work, we somehow managed to track her husband and reunite the young family. This ended up with a happy ending to a horrific experience. However, that is one in a million. Most end up in the hands of wrong people, never seeing the light of freedom again.’’ Sami said.