It stunned us all and shocked the globe into action. What went viral this week after a period of mourning was an outpouring of kindness.
It started with heartbreaking images of a 3 year old little boy named Aylan Kurdi whose lifeless body was found on a Turkish beach.
He had drowned along with his mother and 5-year-old brother when a ferry boat capsized. His father who survived the ordeal had said they were trying to cross into Greece where they would hopefully be able to lead safe and prosperous life.
What followed was a global outcry to mourn these lost lives and a global response to prevent this happening again.
The political wheels have turned slowly, but led by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who has opened Germany's doors to assist at least 78 000 refugees in the first three months of this year alone, it is hoped that other EU countries will follow suite.The hundreds of refugees leaving war-torn countries such as Iraq, Syria and the Sudan have faced extreme hardship and European citizens started looking for ways they could assist.
What proved more powerful and effective was the people on the ground. Whilst many had felt helpless to intervene or tried to ignore these horrors over the past few weeks, suddenly there was mass action from ordinary, loving citizens. This included providing masses of supplies for those arriving by train in Germany as well as many opening their homes in a drive called Refugees Welcome. This Air BnB for refugees whose website says: 'Why shouldn't refugees in Germany be able to live in shared flats (or other normal housing situations) instead of mass accommodation? We thought the same & found a way to make it possible', were overwhelmed by the number of people who agreed.
It is incredible that 100 years later, Germany, a country renowned for Nazism is leading the globe in embracing displaced people. It's politicians and people are trying to solve a very complex refugee crisis.
War, poverty and hunger that afflicts one part of our world is an infliction on us all. The world is rather small after all.
Want to help? You can sign a petition like this one to encourage all EU countries to open their doors. And as South African citizens lets continue to open our lives to our own displaced citizens.