Yusra Mardini

It was just an ordinary day for that part of the world. The sea was very calm. The weather was dull as expected for that time of the year, which was not my first trip down that route. Other times I had brought more people than today. Only fewer times I carried fewer people. These days, people are fleeing this part of the world, which means that dinghies like me are super busy every day. This was just another day, from Turkey to Greece. 

Just another day. Like so many before. 

But this was a memorable day indeed. Nothing would make me guess it. 

I am the one taking people from harm’s way into the illusion of safety, but on that day, I was the one to be saved.

Mid travel, my engine died. 

So a group of 18 people in the middle of the Aegean sea, adrift, with no hope of getting that engine back. And water started getting in.

I can’t tell you how much time I drifted, I am just a dinghy after all, but eventually, a group of four people jumped in the water and started swimming

They were impressive, methodical, determined, but above all, hopeful. 

They swam for what looked like an eternity. I am so much faster. When I am working, of course. I later heard someone say that they swam for over 3 hours straight. With such an example of bravery, I recalled all my strength and was able to get the engine working again. Those brave people were the one reason why we didn’t sink. 

These brave people arrived in a state of exhaustion and hypothermia. However, I did hear one name, Yusra Mardini, and I was grateful, for, on that day, I was saved too.

 

This is an event fueled by war, despair, suffering, and hope, tons of hope.

Yusra Mardini had fled the war in Syria. She and her sister Sarah reached Lebanon and then Turkey and finally contracted to be smuggled into Greece. The rest of the dinghy already told us.

Yusra was a talented swimmer in Damascus, and it was vital for her to swim that many hours and save all those people. 

Yusra was later chosen to be a member of the first-ever Refugee Olympic Team. She competed in the Rio Olympic Games in 2016 and in the 2020 Olympics in 2021 in Tokyo.

Yusra swam for her happiness, and today she lives with Sarah, her sister that also helped push the dinghy, and her parents and younger sister that eventually were able to flee and join them in Berlin, where they live now. 

She keeps swimming, she wrote a biography, and her story will be portrayed in a movie; we suppose the dinghy will just be an extra or a prop. 

Her feats are only surpassed by her voice. She addressed the United Nations General Assembly and met world leaders such as US President Barack Obama and Pope Francis. In addition, she is a Goodwill Ambassador for UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, to change the global perceptions of refugees.

She swam for her and those other 17 on that boat. Today she speaks for her and the other 80 MILLION refugees around the world.

Yusra keeps swimming and keeps addressing the world with the same drive and the same purpose!  

How to be part: Each time you purchase a Life Rebel Mask, you can choose a Rebel to support. For example, if you decide on Yusra, from your purchase, 2€ will be donated to the UNHCR.

Make your purchase count.