ESRAmagazine

Helping Dorian Victims, 2019

Lesley-big Leslie Slomowitz Armon at the ESRA meeting in Ramat Gan / Givatayim

IsraAID is an Israel-based non-governmental organization that responds to emergencies all over the world with targeted humanitarian help. This includes disaster relief, from search and rescue to rebuilding communities and schools, to providing aid packages, medical assistance, and post-psycho-trauma care.

When Leslie Slomowitz Armon, an occupational and art therapist, learned of the tragedy in the Bahamas caused by hurricane Dorian she contacted IsraAID offering her services to the victims.Leslie witnessed the devastation Dorian caused, destroying homes and livelihoods of those living in the affected areas of the Abaco Islands, and of the Grand Bahama Island,which had a population of around 70,000.Hurricane Dorian first hit the Abaco Islands as a Category 5 storm with 185 mph winds.Many of  the residents were refugees from Haiti and due to their illegal standing were hesitant to seek refuge

Much of the population was evacuated to Nassau and housed in a community center where relief workers provided medical care, and food and warm blankets were provided.Leslie described the community center floor as being covered with mattresses with hardly a separation between them. Here they lived for four months. Leslie used her art and therapy skills with the children, calming their fears, dealing with the trauma and aiding in the healing process.Although the children were wary at first of Leslie's "white" color as opposed to their "dark chocolate color skin", she was able to persuade them that she is not "white" but "light chocolate color"

She and the other volunteers from Israel returned home enriched by the new friendships they handmade, and grateful for the opportunity to have made a difference to the lives of the stricken and ever mindful of their blessings

 

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Thursday, 13 May 2021

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