Ode to Lesvos – Humanity Above All

Johnnie Walker The Journey, has always told inspiring and true stories of progress where the human spirit kept walking. Through Storyline, Johnnie Walker The Journey aims to inspire people by highlighting incredible, real stories that have made a positive difference in the world. Bringing to life its mantra of #KeepWalking, Johnnie Walker The Journey introduces ‘Ode to Lesvos’, the first among a series of short films that aim to inspire people to embrace positivity and bring them together to build a better tomorrow for the world.

This strong and powerful story is about humans like you and me who just want to be human, they have shown the world that simple thinking and an earnest attempt can make a big difference to humanity as a whole.

“Can you really ignore what’s in front of your eyes? Because tomorrow it could be me. I could be on a boat with my family and I would like to be helped,” says fisherman Stratis Valamios in Ode to Lesvos.

Around this time, 12 months ago, Stratis spent months on end rescuing men, women and children from the waters around his home. His village, with just a small population of around 150, hit the headlines about news of the refugee crisis as hundreds of thousands of people came ashore, fleeing war and seeking a better future.

Ode to Lesvos is a documentary short film that tells the stories of the islanders whose uncompromising compassion has earned some of them, including Stratis, fellow fisherman Thanassis Marmarinos and 85-year-old Aimilia Kamvisi a Nobel Peace Prize nomination. All this for being human and keeping the spirit of humanity going.

Throughout the past year, headlines from the region have naturally focused on the tragic aspects of the unfolding human drama in the Aegean and Mediterranean seas. Ode to Lesvos shines a light on a lesser told story – the inspiring response of islanders who opened their hearts to the refugees and whose positivity drove them to rescue people from the sea, give shelter, and provide food and water.

As part of the launch of Ode to Lesvos, Johnnie Walker The Journey is supporting Mercy Corps, a leading global organisation that helps people around the world survive and thrive after conflict, crisis and natural disaster. Since the Syrian war began, Mercy Corps has helped more than 7.7million people affected by the crisis and expanded its programming to Greece and The Balkans in response to the migration crisis.

Simon O’Connell, Executive Director, Mercy Corps Europe, said: “The migration crisis continues to have a huge impact on the world in which we live. It is vitally important that we are able to tell these kinds of stories and raise awareness of the issues faced by those who are forcibly displaced and the communities who receive them.”

Speaking about Ode to Lesvos Guy Escolme, Global Brand Director at Johnnie Walker, said: “The film represents one chapter in the evolving, larger story of the refugee crisis but it is one that highlights how acts of kindness and positivity made a difference to the lives of those who made a dangerous journey in search of a better future. We hope people will be inspired by Ode to Lesvos and one way they can respond is by supporting the efforts of Mercy Corps, a leading global organisation whose work through this crisis and many others around the world has brought the promise of hope and possibility to hundreds of thousands of displaced people.”

In addition to encouraging people to donate to the work of Mercy Corps, Johnnie Walker The Journey is also continuing to work with the local community featured in the Ode to Lesvos to identify a number of local projects that will make a positive impact as they look to life beyond the crisis.

As part of the launch of Ode to Lesvos, Johnnie Walker The Journey India is supporting Mercy Corps, a leading global organisation that helps people around the world survive and thrive after conflict, crisis and natural disaster. Besides viewing the film, you too can share Ode To Lesvos on your social media channels with the hashtag #KeepWalking to drive awareness for the Syrian refugee crisis. In addition, people can also make a financial contribution to Mercy Corp by using the link – www.mercycorps.org/johnniewalker

What touched me about this is two things, one is the fact that humanity still hold fort in today’s fast and frenzied world where we rarely think of others. And the other is that genuine things and efforts are getting backing from mega brands like Johnnie Walker The Journey. Both augur well for humanity going forward and will definitely bring a positive change in this world!

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