Jaz O'Hara

Meet the inspirational woman tackling the refugee crisis

As part of our Future Shapers series, in partnership with Neutrogena, we've scoured the country to find 2016's hot new innovators: the game-changing women transforming the way we live and work. Meet award-winner Jaz O'Hara...

The social humanitarian: 
Jaz O’Hara, 26

As CEO and founder of The Worldwide Tribe, an online community-turned-global movement, O’Hara raises awareness of the refugee crisis and runs aid projects across Europe and the Middle East.

It began with a Facebook post. After reading about the refugee crisis in July 2015, I jumped in my car and drove to Calais to find out what I could do to help. I was shocked by the devastation I found there, so I wrote about it on my Facebook page to share with friends and family. The next morning, it had been shared 65,000 times, reaching millions of people.

The power of social media is absolutely incredible. Within weeks I had quit my job in fashion designing for an underwear brand, and created an online movement that has rallied together hundreds of volunteers from all over the UK, filling warehouses across London with donations of food, clothing and tents. Our initial target was to raise £100 to cover travel expenses, but it became Just Giving’s biggest crowdfunding campaign ever. Today we’ve raised more than £250,000 for refugees.

Jaz O'Hara

Jaz O’Hara

Dignity is everything when you have nothing. I’ll never forget Jakoub, an Afghan refugee who could finally smile again when we raised enough money to buy him a new set of teeth – his were pulled out by the Taliban. Or 27-year-old Noor from Syria, who got her freedom back when we bought her an electric wheelchair. It’s these success stories that keep us going. We now operate in Greece, Istanbul, Turkey and Jordan.

#passiton ‘Take care of yourself. Unless I sleep, eat well and exercise, I’m useless to everyone.’

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