Proactiva Open Arms is a non-governmental, non-profit organization whose main mission is to rescue refugees from the sea that arrive to Europe fleeing wars, persecution or poverty. Born from a rescue and first aid at sea company with extensive experience in the Spanish coasts.
We specialize in surveillance and rescue missions of boats carrying people who need help in the Aegean and Central Mediterranean sea, as well as raising awareness of all the injustices that are happening which have been untold.
It all started with some pictures of children that drowned on a beach. We 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?
With the help of lots of people who collaborate with donations, we were able to increase our resources and save more lives every day.
These donations also helped us to be able to rotate our teams. Our volunteers rotate every 15 days due to the physical and emotional impact of the situation.
After the agreement between the UE and Turkey, we are also in the Mediterranean Sea with a rescue and surveillance boat. We do not want to lose one more life to the sea, neither do we want to allow the sea to silence the injustices that happen there.
We also work with an essential team on land: a group of psychologists specialized in crisis situations, emergencies and victims of terrorism who support the lifeguards at all stages of their work.
Upon returning, they offer necessary psychological support in order to help manage the situations that the volunteers have survived, prevent the manifestation of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and help them return to their everyday reality, while ensuring their emotional stability for future interventions.
Proactiva Open Arms is a member of the International Maritime Rescue Federation, being nowadays the only “full members” from the Spanish State.
Proactiva Open Arms is a “supporting entity” of Human Rights at Sea, which is an independent international platform for the preservation of human rights at sea.
The work and initiative of Oscar Camps and his team of volunteers, has been recognized by awards detailed below:
Climent Guitart Solidarity Award 2017
Awarded by the Guitart Hotels company
Plácido Fernández Viagas Prize 2017
Awarded by the Law and Democracy Association
UNICEF Spanish Committee Transforma Award
Awarded by the Spanish Committee of Unicef
ALBA/Puffin Award for Human Rights Activism
Awarded by the Puffin Foundation and the Abraham Lincoln Brigade Archives (ALBA)
Il·lustre Col·legi de l'Advocacia de Barcelona Medal
Given by the Illustrious Bar Association of Barcelona ("Il·lustre Col·legi de l'Advocacia de Barcelona" (ICAB))
Olof Palme Medal 2017
Awarded by the International Olof Palme Foundation
European Citizen’s Prize 2015
Given by members of the European Parliament
Given by the International Maritime Rescue Federation
Catalan Prize 2015
Awarded by “El Periódico” readers
Pie Derecho Award – 9th Edition
Given by “Cadena 100” to the most outstanding citizen solidarity initiatives
Trencant Invisibilitats Award 2015 – 13th Edition
Given by Badalona’s City Council
Honours to the humanitarian work done in in the Lesvos island
Given by Lloret de Mar’s City Council (February 2016)
Award: Pere Casaldàliga a la Solidaritat Award 2016 (Navarcles)
Given by the International Festival of Solidary Cinema (“Festival Internacional de Cinema Solidari”)
PROCURA Solidarity Prize
Given by the Spanish College of Lawyers
Canary Islands Gold Medal 2016
Given by the Governing Council of the Canary Islands (“Consejo de Gobierno de Canarias”)
Given by the Spanish Association of Insurance Brokers
Jesús Vicente Chamorro Prize for the Defence of Human Rights
Awarded by the Progressive Union of Prosecutors
Impacte Award 2016
Given by the College of Advertising and Public Relations of Catalonia (“Col.legi de Publicitaris i Relacions Publiques de Catalunya”)
International Prize for the Rights of Minors
Given by the online magazine, Dirittominorile.it
Sol D'Or Award
Given by the International Environmental Movie Festival
Roig Toqués Award
Given by the Vilanova i la Geltrú’s City Council
Given by the 1st edition of the IWater show
In 2016, up to September 30th 2017, contributions reached 3,6 million euros. Open Arms has total economic independence thanks to all the small contributions from private individuals.
Of the total funding we received, 96% came from the private donations of 28.000 people who helped us with small contributions, ensuring the organisation’s economic independence.
The remaining 4% comes from official organisations and local administrations.
In 2016, up to September 30th 2017, the direct costs of our two missions came to 3,6 million euros. Of the total costs, 94% went towards direct action to be able to carry out the rescues and direct intervention in the sea. The remaining 6% were structural expenses, including communication costs.