WE GO TO THE PLACE OF ORIGIN
With each rescue in the central Mediterranean we hear first-hand of the heart-wrenching testimonies of what they have gone through since they left their places of origin, telling us of torture, rape and abuse. Through their stories, we see how they flee their homes and are forced to take a no less tragic path that can result in their death in the desert, in Libya or in the sea.
This is why, as well as continuing our commitment in the Mediterranean, we are going to the source of this crisis to work on the root of the problem. Thus, we started our mission in a new territory, Africa, together with our first ally in Ghana: NASCO.
We want to prevent what happens at sea by working in the countries of origin. We want to prevent people from believing that the only option is to launch themselves into the open sea, after having already experienced a multitude of dangers on land. We want to put an end to this crime. We don't want to leave another life adrift. And we won't stop until we achieve our goal.
Since 2014, more than 16,000 people have seen their dreams drowned in the Mediterranean.
They flee their countries, crossing the desert and enduring the tortures of Libya in their efforts to reach Europe. 20% are children.
Since January 2017, more than 4,000 people have been rescued from Ghana, where our first mission in Africa began.
It all started when Oscar Camps, founder of Proactiva Open Arms, met Ousman Umar, who is currently the coordinator of Proactiva Open Arms in Africa.
Ousman is a young Ghanaian man who, at the age of 12, had to leave his home in search of an education, a future, a life. Europe is the dream destination, but few are aware of the enormous risk, the cruelty and the high probability of death entailed in this journey.
After 5 years, enduring hardships along the way, the death of travel companions and traumatic and inhuman experiences, Ousman arrived in Spain at the age of 17, where he was lucky to have the opportunity to achieve his goal: he has completed two university degrees and is currently studying a master's degree in International Cooperation.
Ousman's efforts to obtain an education ignited his passion for helping young people in his homeland. The premise is clear: if he had had access to training and information about the journey while still in his native Ghana, he would not have spent 5 years on a hellish journey to "wonderland".
So, in 2012, he founded NASCO Feeding Minds with his brother Banasco Seidu Nuhu: an organisation that provides educational tools and resources to create opportunities for vulnerable children in sub-Saharan Africa.
“I need to tell my story until there are no more stories like mine to tell”
Ousman Umar, coordinator of Proactiva Open Arms in Africa
When Ousman shared his story and his project with Oscar, they realised that they have a common goal: to save lives.
So, they decided to join forces to launch a new mission that would develop tools to empower communities and prevent more lives from being put at risk by fleeing their country of origin.
WHAT DOES THE PROJECT ENTAIL?
The objective of the alliance between Proactiva Open Arms and NASCO is twofold:
1. To make communities aware of the consequences of undertaking this infernal journey.
2. To provide them with educational tools (training and information) so that they can thrive in their countries of origin.
We join forces and work with them so that they can develop and have a life project in their native countries.
Since its inception, NASCO has been established in 5 schools in Ghana.
11,000 children have received digital education in our centres since 2012.
Administration, graphic design and web design are some of the areas in which they apply their knowledge.
Ghana is the first stop on the long journey of our land mission in Africa, and we have a lot of ground to cover. We want to reach communities in the main places of origin (Nigeria, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Senegal, Gambia and Cameroon), as well as in countries with high migration flows (Burkina Faso and Niger).