Dr Alison Thompson - is a full time global humanitarian volunteer. Her work started on the Sept 11th 2001 attacks in New York, where she volunteered as a first responder for nine months. Alison has run internally displaced persons camps in Sri Lanka, Haiti and around the world and was appointed as the first official Ambassador to the Haitian Ministry of Environment in 2012 where she works in reforestation and cholera initiatives. Alison is fondly known as the “Angel of Galle” in Sri Lanka and the "Angel of Light" in Nepal and in 2015 was honored at Loyola Chicago University with an Honorary ‘Doctorate of Letters’, in the ‘Humanities’, where she also gave the commencement speech. For the past 7 months, Alison has worked tirelessly on the island of Lesvos, Greece in the epicenter of the Syrian, Iraqi and Afghani refugee European migration, where over 800,000 refugees have fled war zones by the sea in Turkey. In Greece, Alison is working as a volunteer paramedic resuscitating hundreds of drowning victims and caring for refugees with hypothermia and war wounds . Alison has developed a network of over 10,000 volunteers in which hundreds have deployed to Lesvos where she supports and coordinates aid groups and direct aid in her ongoing work for the refugees. Her mission is to bring Love and Light to Lesvos and to be a VOICE for HUMANITY for the suffering of the refugees she witnesses daily. She describes those first moments with the refugees as the most purest form of love where two humans meet eye to eye and hug without borders, politics or religion.
Her latest program is bringing in an innovative origami designed upcycled PET LED solar light. It is a paper thin light and folds up into a pocket size, it is solar powered and gives eight to ten hours of light. This is critical as refugees find themselves in most cases, in the dead of night, freezing with a thirty one mile walk upon landing on the shores in Lesvos. These lights are basically life savers and guides them out of darkness into light and safety, as they make their way to the processing camps and on though Europe. Alison has personally delivered over 10,000 lights to the refugees.
In 2004 Thompson flew to Sri Lanka after the tsunami devastated the country — and remained there for two years developing and operating a field hospital, rebuilding a village and a local school. There she Founded the first Tsunami Early-Warning Disaster Center along the Indian ocean and a Children’s Learning Center and Tsunami Museum. Her award-winning documentary The Third Wave, chronicles her volunteer experience in Sri Lanka after the 2004 tsunami and was screened at the Cannes Film Festival in a Presidential Jury Screening presented by Sean Penn and Bono. She followed up with a book, The Third Wave: A Volunteer Story. In 2010, Thompson flew to Haiti along with Sean Penn and ten doctors to help after the earthquake. Together, they managed a 70,000-person IDP camp and field hospital alongside General Simeon Trombitas and the 82nd Airborne who honored her with the US Commanders 'Medal of Excellence' Award. In 2010 she was awarded the Order of Australia, the highest civilian medal given by the Australian Government and Queen Elizabeth II, for her volunteerism and her contributions to mankind. In Haiti she also co-founded We Advance, an organization dedicated to combating gender-based violence and advancing the health and safety of women and children throughout the dangerous Cite Soleil slums. — After Hurricane Sandy in New York, Thompson created and managed The Third Wave Command Center in the Rockaways NY, supporting thousands of affected civilians with aid and resilience campaigns and then went onto work in the Philippines with Typhoon Haiyan followed by the Nepal earthquake disaster of 2015 where she delivered thousands of solar lights to remote destroyed mountain areas. For the past 5 years Alison has organized "I am Peace" student led marches in the streets of Chicago to draw attention to the rampart gun violence disaster. With simplicity and humility, Thompson inspires everyone to service and to take action just as she has: as an everyday, average individual. She tailors her message on how ‘anyone can volunteer’, from a global scope to our own backyards and that “everyone is needed” As she continues to change the world – she believes “It is easy to be in the wrong place at the wrong time but its Leadership to be in the wrong time at the right time.”
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