A Bafta-winning Syrian photographer and filmmaker has temporarily changed careers to spend his time disinfecting Covid-19 wards at his local hospital.
Hassan Akkad, who moved to London four years ago, said he wanted to give back to the NHS during the pandemic, and so took the minimum-wage job as a way of contributing.
He wrote on Twitter: “I am honoured to join an army of cleaners.
Thank you for all the love! It would mean a lot to me if you can donate some money to the hospital I clean. They launched a Covid-19 appeal and need a bit of help during this tough time. Link below. Thank you again xxxhttps://t.co/UcD1DLhurF— Hassan Akkad ØØ³Ø§Ù Ø¹ÙØ§Ø¯ (@hassan_akkad) April 7, 2020
“London has been my home since leaving Syria and the least I can do is make sure my neighbours and the amazing NHS staff are safe and sound.”
The tweet quickly went viral with many praising his attitude.
Mr Akkad, 32, told the PA news agency: “I can clean — the benefit of having a Syrian mum is I know how to clean really well.”
He did not know when he was applying that he would be working on Covid-19 wards, but said when he was told: “I knew I was willing to do it.”
Honoured to join an army of cleaners disinfecting Covid wards our local hospital after receiving training. London has been my home since leaving Syria, and the least I can do is making sure my neighbours and the amazing NHS staff are safe and sound. #StayHomeSaveLives pic.twitter.com/7XkBwSiXW8— Hassan Akkad ØØ³Ø§Ù Ø¹ÙØ§Ø¯ (@hassan_akkad) April 7, 2020
Mr Akkad arrived in the UK in late 2015, filming all 87 days of his perilous journey from Syria — a film that would later go on to win a Bafta and an Emmy.
However, after the UK was placed into lockdown, future work and projects began to dry up.
He said: “I know there is a risk, but I am not treating patients, I am merely a cleaner and disinfecting the ward. But I know my job makes a difference because I know as cleaners we are looking out for the NHS staff.
I just went out on my lunch break and was blown away by how lovely, supportive and kind you all are. Thank you so much. I would love it if you could donate to @chooselove Covid appeal as well, they are doing such important work— Hassan Akkad ØØ³Ø§Ù Ø¹ÙØ§Ø¯ (@hassan_akkad) April 7, 2020
“It was overwhelming to see the reaction to the tweet. But I don’t want all the credit. I am only doing this temporarily and there are people out there who are the actual heroes because they do this for years.”