From left, Yank Barry, boxing champion Manny Pacquiao, and retired champ Evander Holyfield..
(photo credit: PR)
BERLIN – Canadian philanthropist Yank Barry – dubbed the Jewish Schindler – last week surpassed his goal of helping 1,200 Middle Eastern refugees, Muslim, Christian and Yazidi, from war-torn and oppressive countries, helping them rebuild their lives in Bulgaria.
His aim was to replicate the number of Jews (1,200) Oskar Schindler, a Catholic German businessman, saved during the Holocaust. The refugees are from Iran, Syria and Iraq.
Barry, who previously told The Jerusalem Post that he does not compare himself to Schindler, stressed the significance of reaching 1,218 saved refugees.
“Eighteen in Hebrew means life, that is life to 1,218 people,” Barry said at a news conference in Sofia.
“Nobody else has done this much to help Bulgaria in this crisis; we can’t be thankful enough,” said Nikolay Chirpanliev, president of the State Agency for Refugees in Bulgaria.
Barry gained international fame as the lead singer of The Kingsmen, which produced the 1963 pop classic “Louie, Louie.”
He is the co-founder of not-for-profit Global Village Champions Foundation, which helps refugees fleeing oppression.
“[Barry and his NGO] have focused their efforts in aiding those who need help the most: Sick people, families with lots of kids, those traumatized by war and lost relatives,” said Chirpanliev.
In addition, his philanthropic work furnishes children with toys and language classes, and provides training opportunities for adults.
Barry’s organization provides the daily meals for more than 5,000 refugees in five Bulgarian camps.
His foundation works with the help of donors and notable figures such as ex-boxers Muhammad Ali and Evander Holyfield and singer Gary U.S. Bonds. The NGO has provided almost a billion meals to hungry people across the globe.