Former war photographer Padraig Grant decided he could no longer stand idly by and do nothing for Syria and its people.
The Co Wexford-based photographer took the simple step of making some of his photographs into Christmas cards, with all proceeds going to the White Helmets.
Nobel Peace Prize-nominated, the White Helmets are a group of volunteer rescue workers who have saved more than 70,000 lives in Syria. They are also the subject of the widely-watched Netflix documentary, of the same name.
“Back in 2001 I was on a tour of the Middle East, including to the Lebanon and the Kurdish parts of Turkey. I just found the Syrians so welcoming. You’d be on the bus and get talking to them and the next thing they’d invite you back to their house for tea. They were the friendliest people I’d ever met.
“You’ve got to do something so [I came up with] the Christmas cards. It’s a simple and quick thing to do,” he says.
He also covered civil wars in Africa during his time as a war photographer providing photos to international newspapers.
“I covered the civil war in South Sudan in 1989. I would hook up with aid agencies like Goal. I was also in Rwanda for the genocide in 1994 and Goal was there collecting bodies from the streets,” he said.
“When you see people doing that, like the White Helmets in Syria running towards and not away from bombs, that’s when you need to do something.
“You can only look at something so long and not do something about it.”
Spectrum Art and Framing in Wexford are sponsoring the materials to make the cards, which are being sold for €15 for five.
The cards are available to purchase on his website www.padraiggrant.com
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