PROACTIVA OPEN ARMS WAS FOUNDED BY OSCAR CAMPS, A PROFESSIONAL LIFEGUARD FROM BARCELONA
We want to dedicate part of this section to talk about “Proactiva Open Arms” which is a non-governmental organization from Barcelona (Spain), whose purpose is to rescue refugees from the sea that arrive in Europe running away from wars, oppression due to political reasons or poverty.
“We do not want to lose one more life in the sea, neither do we want to allow the sea to silence the injustices that happen there”, they explain in their official website.
This terrifying photograph was the trigger to start this NGO, which was born from a rescue and first aid at sea company with wide experience in the Spanish coasts. They thought: “ If we dedicate ourselves to this and we do it on our beaches, why are they dying there and why is nobody helping them?”.
It all started in 2015 thanks to Oscar Camps, the owner of a rescue company in Badalona, Pro-Activa Serveis Aquàtics. In the context of the refugee crisis during Siria’s civil war, when thousands of people died trying to reach Europe, Camps decided to move to Lesbos (a greek island near Turkey) to evaluate the situation with his own eyes. As he and his company had a wide experience in beach surveillance, Oscar and some friends decided to use their first aid knowledge in rescuing those refugees that tried to reach the European Union through the Aegean Sea.
So, three years ago he set up this NGO with 15.000 euros of his own money. In the beginning, the only material they had was neoprene suits, flippers and snorkels. The main activities of the group was to guide and help the refugees reach the land, principally Syrian people that came from Turkey in very fragile dinghies. Little by little, the equipment available improved considerably thanks to particular donations.
Nowadays their missions are carried out in Africa, Central Mediterranean and Lesbos (Greece).
Since September 2015 until Agust 2018, they have achieved to save almost 60.000 lifes in a context where Mediterranean and Aegean sea have became a deep blue cemetery.
Here there is a map indicating the places where Proactiva Open Arms takes action. In Ghana, they have started a campaing to raise awarness about the risks of a trip in irrgular conditions.In the long run, they want to expand it to the rest of African countries: