Facebook’s popular Humans of New York page featured a post about Syrian refugees entering into Greece. Anca Ponea has been watching refugees pour in first hand and described her experience in the comment section of the picture on Facebook.
Two women across the world were scrolling through the comment section and came across Ponea’s story. After reading it they knew they had to do something. Marie Beechy of Lousiana and Laynese Hooks of Washington DC both contacted Ponea separately asking how they could help. Ponea saw how they got off the boats with nothing and decided she wanted to give them strollers to help the youngest of the refugees.
The initial goal between the three women was 10 strollers. Soon 10 became 23. When the message started to be shared 23 became 54 and so on. The three women started a Facebook page called One Stroller– Many Steps forward and shared photos of the refugees with their new strollers. A woman in Chicago caught wind and started her own fundraising effort. They soon organized themselves into a nonprofit organization called One Refugee Child.
Facebook took notice when Hooks commented on a post by their very own COO, Sheryl Sandberg. The executive was asking for interesting connections made over Facebook Facebook invited Hooks and Beechy to meet Sandberg as well as CEO Mark Zuckerberg at their California headquarters.
The women say that they are thankful for Facebook because of the opportunity given to them to make friends they otherwise wouldn’t have. Without these friendships, this nonprofit wouldn’t have been possible.
Beechy and Hooks are planning a trip to Greece to finally meet Ponea. After exchanging thousands of Facebook messages they are excited to meet in person to further organize and develop their charitable projects.