Proactiva Open Arms has announced today a new mission of the Catalan organization in Africa to inform potential immigrants about the dangers of the journey to Europe through testimonies, in order to prevent the exodus from the place of origin of these people.
As explained in a press conference in Badalona, the director of Proactiva Open Arms, Óscar Camps, the new project has started in Ghana with the collaboration with the NGO NASCO Feeding Minds and a joint objective: “to save lives”.
The mission aims to inform the most vulnerable groups of African countries, which are at risk of making the decision to embark on an exodus to Europe risking their lives, the dangers that the trip has for them, through testimonies of the people who have crossed the sea.
“We have to let them know what the trip holds, 90% of those who get it say they would not do it again, and we can give their testimony,” explained the director of Open Arms.
Through Feeding Minds, founded by Ousman Oumar, the Catalan organization has launched the new mission in Ghana, where they have carried out awareness-raising work for 1,500 schoolchildren, as well as politicians and religious leaders from the most vulnerable regions of the country.
“If I had had access to this information, I would have hesitated about starting the trip and would not have fallen so easily into the trap,” said Oumar, who arrived in Barcelona in 2005 from Ghana after five years of a hard exodus.
“I know what I’m talking about: 95% of the comrades who traveled with me did not arrive alive,” says Oumar, who considers the Open Arms project to be “a great alliance” and “a way to put a firm solution on the table “to the deaths that happen daily in the Mediterranean.
“The solution is to prevent them from leaving, and get them to have the information capacity to make decisions,” said the Director of Proactiva Open Arms, who will extend this awareness project to other countries such as Nigeria, Equatorial Guinea. , Ivory Coast and Cameroon.
The initiative operates through the local media, as well as the embassies and political figures of the country, and reaches the schools where vulnerable people are, who may have the intention to emigrate, to whom they ” explains to reality through testimonies and images “.
“We believe that we can contribute something more from the origin of these people, more than just rescue them at sea,” Camps said about the idea behind the project, which completes the rescue work at sea that began Open Arms in Lesbos ( Greece) the year 2015.
After nearly 30 months of work, the Catalan organization has saved the lives of some 60,000 people and has served as a witness and spokesman for the rest of thousands who have perished at sea without reaching their destinations.
“We are very small but very determined, we know that we are not the first to go to Africa but we do what we think should be done, which right now is to work from the place of origin of these people,” said Camps.