Keabetswe Shilakwe | 9 January 2017
It’s been a few days since his return from visiting Syrian refugees in Turkey and Yusuf Abramjee is still haunted by the experience.
The veteran journalist, anti-crime activist and founder of Operation SA says he found his calling years ago to be a humanitarian and has since done all he could in order to make South Africa and more recently, Syria, a better place.
Abramjee has been involved with a number of projects locally , inlcuding the Crime Line initiative with his previous employer, Primedia. as well as being a global communications director at Crime Stoppers International (CSI).
This time he has worked alongside artist and fellow humanitarians from seven South African NGO’s doing work in Syria.
Together they have been raising funds for a campaign called #SaveSyria ,which was launched on the 16th of December 2016. Abramjee says he has been overwhelmed by the amount of support South Africans have shown in this project. He says the messages that have gone out have spurred people to give back in more ways than one and for that he is thankful.
“It’s critical, it’s a human disaster [and] suffering on a mass scale. What we’ve seen really has touched us immensely.”
Abramjee visited the Turkish and Syrian border along with Qari Ziyaad Patel of the Alimdaad Foundation. He says he finds its difficult to describe what he went through in those days.
The experience has been a horrible one and took its toll on him both emotionally and mentally. He spoke about how the journey hardened him but he would never forget the moment he broke down after visiting an orphanage in Reyhanli where a two year old boy, Ahmed, clung onto his hand and wouldn’t let go.
“I hugged him to offer him love. But my personal efforts are so little when there are hundreds of thousands of kids like Ahmed who need that love and support today.”
#SaveSyria is Operation SA’s first project and there are be plans for something bigger that South Africans can also actively participate in. They are, however, still asking for more donations for Syria.
“My appeal to South Africans is please continue to donate, continue to pledge for the sake of the children, for the sake of the widows, for the sake the refugees. It’s cold, it’s raining, it’s miserable, we can ease their suffering a little bit and we can really make a difference.”
With these words, you as an individual have been called to do something that is above you. Something beautiful with the potential to make the world a better place one action at a time.
“Unlike any other creature on this planet, humans can learn and understand, without having experienced. They can think themselves into other people’s places… We do not need magic to change the world, we carry all the power we need ourselves already; we have the power to imagine better” – J.K Rowling
SMS 072 3 99 99 99 or go to www.operationsa.org to place a pledge or to donate.