Alison Thompson

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Dr. Alison Thompson holding her heart flag

Dr. Alison Thompson has worked for the past 16 years as a full-time humanitarian volunteer.[1][2][3][4]

Dr. Alison Thompson is dressed in yellow emergency gear and a love cap. She is carrying a Syrian refugee baby to safety.
Dr. Alison Thompson helping Syrian refugees off a boat.


Dr. Alison Thompson at ground zero, New York
Dr. Alison Thompson at ground zero, Sept 11th 2001

Dr. Alison Thompson began her journey on September 11, 2001, during the attacks in New York, where she roller bladed downtown to help as a first responder. She lived at Ground Zero for the next 9 months collecting body parts and running a first aid station. Thompson lost many close friends on Sept. 11, which changed the direction of her life in service to others.

Dr. Alison Thompson re-introducing the children to the sea after 2004 tsunami disaster

Over the last 16 years, Thompson has run refugee and internally displaced persons camps along with setting up and directing field hospitals in Sri Lanka, Haiti, Philippines, Greece (Syrian and Iraq refugees), Turkey, Nepal, New Orleans and in New York during Superstorm Sandy.


In 2001, Thompson founded 'The Third Wave' volunteer organization and leads a network of over 50,000 volunteers and followers from around the world. She works at the grassroots level helping to create sustainable and innovative solutions. Thompson leads Third Wave volunteers by focusing on the gaps, no matter how complex or simple. This earned her the title of the 'Angel of Galle' in Sri Lanka when helping re-build a 3,000 person village and setting up CTEC- the first Tsunami Early-warning disaster center In Sri Lanka, Thompson also helped develop a Tsunami Museum and children's learning center.

United States

In 2008, Thompson stepped up with Sean Penn for the “Dirty Hands Caravan,” which inspired 200 Coachella concert goers to join them on a volunteering, cross-country camping trip. In bio-diesel buses, the group volunteered for two weeks all over the USA helping run a Leukemia drive, AIDS and May Day marches and cleaning up the environment. The trip ended in New Orleans to assist in rebuilding the Ninth Ward — three years after Katrina.

Since 2013, Thompson has helped lead a 3,000 student Peace march in the South side of Chicago with the Perspectives Charter Schools and is on the Miami planning committee for the annual One Billion Women Rising campaign, the largest gender-based violence movement in the world.


In 2010 after the Haiti earthquake she teamed up with Sean Penn again and helped run his 70,000 person IDP camp and medical clinic which saved countless lives and birthed hundreds of babies.

The same gaps made her run a gender based violence family medical clinic in Cité Soleil, Haiti, called We Advance, alongside Maria Bello, Aleda Frishman and Barbara Guillaume servicing an area with over 400,000 Haitians for 5 years.

During her time volunteering in Haiti, she realized that only 2% of the forest was left and began planting the Maya Nut tree across the country as a reforestation effort and sustainable food source for Haiti's future. It earned her one of the first Ambassadorships to the Minister of the Environment for Haiti. She continues planting today.

In Haiti, she has begun a prison planting initiative to help feed female prisoners with the Maya Nut and other local crops. She is also launching a digitized map of her current planted Maya Nut trees throughout Haiti. She is at 156,000 trees.

Greece and Syria

Since 2015, Thompson has been working on the island of Lesvos, Greece in the epicenter of the Syrian refugee Crisis where millions have fled the war zones of Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. In Greece, she volunteers as a paramedic rescuing refugees along the Aegean sea including resuscitating children to healing bullet and torture wounds to those fleeing ISIS.[5][6] Thompson is also bringing innovative Solar lights to give to the Syrian women and children in the dark refugee camps.[7]

The Origami 'fold up in your pocket' Solar Puff lights are important for the refugees living in the dark. Thompson has personally distributed the solar lights [8][9][10] to over 75,000 refugees where she also gives love looking each family in the eye to let them know there are people out there who care.

Dr. Alison Thompson giving solar lanterns called SolarPuff to refugees.


In 2015 she was honored at Loyola Chicago University with an Honorary ‘Doctorate of Letters’,[11] in the ‘Humanities’, where she also gave the commencement speech.[11]


Her award-winning documentary The Third Wave chronicles her volunteer experience in Sri Lanka after the 2004 tsunami and was screened at the 2008 Cannes Film Festival in a Presidential Jury Screening presented by Sean Penn and Bono. She followed up with a book published by Random House called The Third Wave: A Volunteer Story.


  • 2009 honored by US Army Two- Star General Simeon Trombitas and the 82nd Airborne Division with the US Commanders 'Medal of Excellence' Award
  • 2010 Order of Australia
  • 2010 The Paul Harris award from Rotary International
  • 2005 Humanitarian award from the President of Sri Lanka
  • 2012 InStyle award for Charity and Community
  • 2015 Loyola Chicago University Honorary ‘Doctorate of Letters’,‘Humanities’ [11]


  1. ^ Fox, MeiMei. "Leading By Being 'In The Right Place At The Wrong Time'". Retrieved 2016-08-31. 
  2. ^ "Saving lives amid world's worst humanitarian crisis". Retrieved 2016-08-31. 
  3. ^ CNN, Sara Sidner, Gul Tuysuz and Mary Rogers. "The woman who never shies away from disaster". CNN. Retrieved 2016-08-31. 
  4. ^ World Race Films (2016-03-01), Just Do Something - Alison Thompson from the Beaches of Lesvos, retrieved 2016-08-31 
  5. ^ "Refugee Crisis Lesbos, Greece". CNN iReport. Retrieved 2016-08-31. 
  6. ^ Chris Morrow (2015-11-21), Syrian Refugees land in Lesbos Greece - crisis, retrieved 2016-08-31 
  7. ^ Operation Blessing International (2016-05-10), Illuminating Greece: Solar Lights For Refugees, retrieved 2016-08-31 
  8. ^ Poet, Gregory Weinkauf; pundit; Writer, Award-Winning (2016-07-11). "Let There Be Light! Inventor Alice Chun and Dr. Alison Thompson Bring Solight's SolarPuff to the World". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 2016-08-31. 
  9. ^ Chris Morrow (2015-11-23), Giving Light to the Syrian Refugees - Lesbos Greece, retrieved 2016-08-31 
  10. ^ Pastrana, Lauren. "South Florida Woman Helps Light The Way For Syrian Refugees". Retrieved 2016-08-31. 
  11. ^ a b c ArtsAndCultureTv (2015-06-19), Alison Thompson Loyola Doctoral Ceremony, retrieved 2016-08-31 
Retrieved from ""
This content was retrieved from Wikipedia :
This page is based on the copyrighted Wikipedia article "Alison Thompson"; it is used under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License (CC-BY-SA). You may redistribute it, verbatim or modified, providing that you comply with the terms of the CC-BY-SA