Rabat - Moroccan-Italian activist Nawal Soufi has been awarded the “Arab Hope Makers” prize in Dubai for her role in helping refugees.
Rabat – Moroccan-Italian activist Nawal Soufi has been awarded the “Arab Hope Makers” prize in Dubai for her role in helping refugees.
Soufi won the prize along with AED 1 million during an award ceremony on Thursday, where she had been competing with four other finalists.
Nicknamed the “Refugees Angel,” the 30-year-old Moroccan helped save the lives of 200,000 refugees, mostly Syrians fleeing war , seeking to reach Europe by embarking on a dangerous journey across the Mediterranean.
“Lady SOS,” as some refugees call her, has been actively working to make sure refugees reach Italian shores safely. She frequently receives phone calls from refugees asking for help. Soufi has always been there to deliver, sending them rescue.
“Often, I am the first person they call in panic when their boats get lost or start to sink”, she said once.
When she told her story before the award’s judges, she explained how the phone is part of her life now.
“The calls I get everyday are like: we are drowning; the waves are high; please help us, we are dying. This call can change anyone’s life,” she said.
In addition to her refugee activism in Italy, Soufi went to Syria in 2013 to deliver aid for refugees. There, she was witness of the horrors of war and grew more sensitive to the tragedy of Syrians.
Soufi and other four panelists were selected among 65,000 participants representing 22 Arab countries.
During the award ceremony, the other four finalist were also granted AED 1 million “for dedicating their time to serving others,” said United Arab Emirates Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum.