The Sanctuary burnt down

We are devastated.
Our home and beautiful retreat place The Sanctuary has been destroyed by the flames of the most devastating forest fires in Central Portugal. 

Sunday night we were hit by a fire inferno. We fled the house from the flames that were only 20 meters away from us.  Attila, Rebecca, Dorie (a friend of ours) and myself (Alexandra) escaped with all our animals, except for Luna. She got so scared when we started panicking that she ran off into the woods. It was horrible to drive away and leave her behind. We drove away to the nearest town, Oliveira do Hospital, to find safety, so we thought. The town was almost surrounded by flames. There we thankfully met Daniela and Johannes and we continued the 6 of us, trying to find ways out but kept driving into streets that were full of flames. We started to hear explosions of gas stations, gas bottles and cars that were blowing up. We knew the only way to survive was to find shelter somewhere, since we were surrounded by fire. Miraculously, we had stopped the car in front of a large house. After climbing the fence we found out that it had a pool. Alexandra had recently read about an article of a couple in California who had survived the fire because they stayed in the pool. We decided this was our best bet to survive. We then realized that there was a large electricity cable right above of the pool that could electrocute us if it fell into the water we were in. Our next possible option was the concrete shed that was right behind the pool, since it wouldn’t catch fire easily. We all soaked ourselves in the pool water, and sat in that shed and prayed that the fire would not get to us. Smoke started to enter the room, we saw flames through the window but our powerful prayers were heard. The flames did not hit us. Everything around the property was black except for ours we found shelter on. A true miracle!

 The next morning we went back to our land. We found Luna! She looks like she had a very rough time but she is alive, what a blessing!

Our house is gone. The tipi is gone. It was as if it never existed. Rebecca’s room is in ashes. The only thing still standing are all the guest rooms and the Yurt that we have just finished building. It is untouched.

Daniela and Johannes’s land and house is gone. Completely burned to the ground. The only thing they possess are the clothes they are wearing right now.

 At the moment we are living in Alexandra's and Daniela's father's home. We are still in shock that this has happened to us. It is devastating and we don’t know where to begin to rebuild our lives.

We realize that we are so incredibly blessed to be alive. We survived, and that is all that matters.

 We are asking for your support, in any way you can. 
We do not have any means of income since the retreat center is distroyed. We do not have a home and most of our posessions are gone. Please help us to rebuild our lives. We are six people in need. Daniela and her husband, Attila and Alexandra with their two teenage children, Rebecca and Tristan.

We are grateful for everyone who shared our journey here in Portugal. It has been an honor and a blessing to do the work we did and we would love to continue this path if this is what we are meant to do. Thank you for your love & support!

Attila, Rebecca, Daniela, Johannes and Alexandra
& all the animals

 Before and after. 

Our beautful tipi is gone.

The front porch of our home.

The cozy kitchen is no longer. 

Rebecca's room is only ashes.

Thank God our Yurt magically survived.

How the roads of our area look like at the moment.
  • Anonymous 
    • €27 
    • 34 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • €150 
    • 42 mos
  • Vadim Cristea 
    • €5 
    • 42 mos
  • Stephanie Labuskes 
    • €100 
    • 43 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • €100 
    • 44 mos
See all


Alexandra Akat 
  • #1 fundraising platform

    More people start fundraisers on GoFundMe than on any other platform. Learn more

  • GoFundMe Guarantee

    In the rare case something isn’t right, we will work with you to determine if misuse occurred. Learn more

  • Expert advice, 24/7

    Contact us with your questions and we’ll answer, day or night. Learn more