'It's a great privilege for me to be on the giving side. It's a gift,' said Gal Lusky. 'It's a great privilege for me to be on the giving side. It's a gift,' said Gal Lusky. 'It's a great privilege for me to be on the giving side,' said Gal Lusky, seen here with a Sudanese orphan in Egypt. (Photo: Courtesy IFA)

Israeli woman offers humanitarian aid across the globe

Gal Lusky and her Israeli Flying Aid organization helps save lives after disasters.

Gal Lusky is doing what she does best – juggling. She's the founder of an international humanitarian aid agency with 1,200 volunteers under her watch. "And please mention we don't need any more!" she told us when we caught up with her between meetings at her Tel Aviv office. "We don't accept new volunteers. We have more than enough. Because after every article, we're flooded."

Lusky speaks from experience. After high school – and stints as a flight attendant and at a private investigator's office – she spent a decade volunteering for a variety of NGOs. She delivered aid to those suffering in the Rwandan genocide and traveled to Sri Lanka to help with disaster relief after the 2004 tsunami. Those years granted her behind-the-scenes access to learn the inner workings of aid organizations and, in 2005, she decided to launch her own. Israeli Flying Aid has now been operating for nearly 15 years, and Lusky has embraced every moment of it.

"It's not a thing you plan," she said. "It's just the life you live."

Gal Lusky in Haiti in 2010. Gal Lusky in Haiti after the 2010 earthquake. (Photo: Courtesy IFA)

Lusky's group takes particular pride in being first responders, concentrating more on life-saving rescues than long-term rebuilding. When Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans, Lusky and a team of 22 volunteers from Israel quickly flew to the flood-ravaged city. They joined up with local authorities to offer help with search and rescue, medical aid and trauma relief.

Israeli Flying Aid is currently helping in Tanzania, where local superstitions surrounding albino children have led to them being kidnapped. Lusky's group is helping at shelters there to provide the kids with better protection. They have just purchased land in a country in North Africa to build an orphanage for abandoned children. They're planning for it to house 200 kids, from newborns to 3-year-olds. And they recently returned from a trip to Chad, where they delivered much-needed supplies to orphanages and refugee camps.

The 51-year-old Lusky calls herself fortunate. Her mom and husband take care of her kids while she hopscotches around the globe. "I don't feel I'm paying a price, leaving them at home. It goes without saying that my kids stay well-protected, warm, healthy. They eat well, they sleep well and I'm leaving my home. It's my choice. And I feel blessed being able to do that."

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Israeli woman offers humanitarian aid across the globe
Gal Lusky and her Israeli Flying Aid organization helps save lives after disasters.