For thousands of African asylum seekers fleeing danger via Egypt’s Sinai desert, one woman serves as an oasis after their harrowing journey into Israel.
She was born in Eritrea as Azezet Habtezghi Kidane. In the migrant shelters of South Tel Aviv, she is known simply as Sister Aziza.
In the free clinic for migrants run by the Physicians for Human Rights-Israel, where she volunteers as a nurse, Sister Aziza examines the African refugees and listens to their unbearable stories of slavery. She sees burns and whip marks on the body of the men who fled to Israel though the Sinai. Ran Cohen, a colleague at Physicians for Human Rights says: “If people are able to wake up every morning and keep hope, it is because what Aziza is telling and doing.”
She received an honor from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for her work with NGO Physicians for Human rights-Israel and was honored as a “TIP Report Hero Acting to End Modern Slavery” in recognition of her efforts to combat human trafficking in 2012.