The Syrian Civil Defense, also known as the White Helmets, made it to the finals of the ‘Arab Hope Maker’ for the sacrifices they made saving people from under the rubble in Syrian towns and villages.
The White Helmets has managed to save around 94,000 people since the rescue group was established in 2013, according to figures given at the ceremony.
Nawal Soufi from Morocco was announced the Arab world’s greatest ‘Arab Hope Maker’ and was rewarded with Dh1 million for her commitment to helping thousands of migrating Syrian refugees with passion.
Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, presented the prize to the White Helmets Director Raed Saleh and to the other four finalists at an award ceremony on Thursday night.
Shaikh Mohammad announced that all five finalists will also get Dh1 million each for dedicating their time to serving others.
All five finalists shared their stories during the ceremony, which revealed their commitment and humanitarian spirit to generously give their time and effort to overcome obstacles and spread optimism and hope.
The ‘Arab Hope Makers’ initiative aims to shed light on the inspirational stories of people who provide hope and spread it among communities throughout the Arab world.
The White Helmets was the subject of an Academy Award-winning Netflix documentary in February of this year. Often the first and only emergency service on the scene, they have braved bombings and chemical attacks by the Assad regime and its allies to help civilians in northern Syria. Many White Helmet members have died in the line of duty.
The White Helmets was also nominated for the 2016 Nobel Peace Prize and garnered international support for their candidacy. The group’s volunteers are usually hailed as “real life heroes.” (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department + Agencies)