Maritsa Mavrapidou, one of the three Greek grandmothers who became a symbol of the Lesvos islanders’ solidarity with refugees, has passed away at the age of 90.
The photograph that depicted herself and two other elderly women sitting side by side and looking after a refugee child, went viral when the refugee crisis was at its height in 2015-2016.
Maritsa herself was a child of refugees that fled to Lesvos from Asia Minor in the early 1920s. Together with her friends Aimilia Kamvysi and Efstratia Mavrapidou, they did their best to support the thousands of Syrian refugees that arrived on the beach near their village.
Caring for the small child of a refugee woman who had just descended on the shore, by chance a photographer happened to capture the humanitarian moment of the ladies. Not long after, the image of them went viral and the three women became the symbols of the island’s volunteer effort to support refugees.
Maritsa, Aimilia and Efstratia were also nominated as candidates for the Nobel Peace Prize, as despite their age, daily they went down to the shore with other volunteers to assist the people arriving every day.
The funeral for Maritsa Mavrapidou will be held on Thursday at 15:00 at the Sykamnia cemetery.