Today I received this nice letter from the “White Helmets”.

Your generous donation

Bissan Fakih – The Syria Campaign

An Hajo von Kracht

Dear Hajo,

Thank you for your incredible generosity in supporting the White Helmets – you are one of the White Helmets’ top 500 supporters worldwide. I am writing to let you know that your donation is changing lives — it is helping the amazing heroes on the ground working around the clock to save lives amid all the violence in Syria. Here’s a message from Majd, a White Helmet volunteer:

“Thank you to every person who donated to our injured volunteers, our martyrs and their families. The Hero Fund is supporting those who give everything, who sacrifice what is precious to them, sometimes even a limb, in order to save as many lives as possible. You have helped treat our injured and supported the families of our fallen volunteers and this in turn is saving lives and bringing back hope.”

Many injured White Helmets treated by the Hero Fund have now gone back to saving lives. Hassan from Hama got a prosthetic leg after surviving a cluster bomb explosion on a rescue mission in his city of Kafr Zeit. He is now back to work with his team. Mohammad, a father of four, received an injury to the head and shoulder back in February. He underwent two surgeries paid for by the Hero Fund. He hasn’t fully recovered yet but insisted on going back to work in the service of the White Helmets, helping his team in Maarat Al Atik in Aleppo.

Dozens of other volunteers have been helped by the Hero Fund since it was established in the summer of 2015 and sustained since by your generosity. Yours was a crucial act of solidarity — the costs of treating wounded volunteers and helping the families of the fallen were not covered by donor governments. Before the Hero Fund existed, the teams struggled to pool together whatever money each volunteer had, calling their friends and relatives to raise enough cash to treat a teammate or provide help to the spouses and children of a White Helmet who had died. This was was never going to be enough, particularly as the rescue workers became a greater target for Russian and Syrian regime airstrikes.

The number of fallen White Helmets has tragically risen to 147. Two volunteers were killed just last week in separate attacks. Mohammad Osama Hawa was killed in the town of Anadan in regime shelling. Two years ago we mourned his father together, Osama Hawa, when he died in an attack while saving lives with the White Helmets. Another volunteer, Bassam Hadleh, was killed last week in an attack on a civil defence centre in Idlib. Five of his colleagues were injured.
Currently there are about 400 wounded White Helmet volunteers, 80 of them with serious injuries like loss of eyesight, amputations and deep shrapnel wounds. The most common injuries now are loss of limb – hands and arms, and amputations below the knee. A few of the most urgent cases have had to be moved from Syria to Turkey where the Fund has paid for hospital stays, surgeries, prosthetic limbs and medicine.

Your contributions and your solidarity have gotten wounded White Helmets back on their feet and helped families of the fallen through the worst of times. You haven given these teams the comfort of having a safety net, and you have shown them that people around the world are standing with them.

We want to continue sustaining the Hero Fund but also pay for new rescue equipment to replace the ambulances and diggers that were destroyed in airstrikes. Days ago we launched an urgent crowdfunder to get the White Helmets these funds. If you wish to make another contribution, the People’s Million fundraiser can be found here. We’re already almost halfway to our goal.

Together we’re determined to support the White Helmets and their call for real action to stop the bombs in Syria. Thank you for all your incredible efforts.