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 cooperate with donations, we were able to increase our resources and save more lives every day.
These donations also helped us 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 EU 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 team of psychologists specialised 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 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:
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
Given by the International Olof Palme Foundation
European Citizen’s Prize 2015
Given by members of the European Parliament
HERO Awards International
Given by the International Maritime Rescue Federation
Award: Català de l’any 2015
Given by “El Periódico’s” audience
Award: Pie Derecho - 9a Edició
Given by “Cadena 100” to the most outstanding citizen solidarity initiatives
Award: Trencant Invisibilitats 2015 – 13a Edició
Given by Badalona’s City Council
Honours to the humanitarian work done in Lesbos island
Given by Lloret de Mar’s City Council (February 2016)
Award: Pere Casaldàliga a la Solidaritat 2016 (Navarcles)
Given by the International Festival of Solidary Cinema (“Festival Internacional de Cinema Solidari”)
Award: PROCURA solidari
Given by Spain’s School of Barristers (“Colegio de Procuradores de España”)
Canary Gold Medal 2016
Given by the Governing Council of the Canary Islands (“Consejo de Gobierno de Canarias”)
Given by the Spanish Insurance Brokers Association (“Asociación Española de Corredurías de Seguros”)
Award: Jesús Vicente Chamorro per la defensa dels Drets Humans
Given by Progressive Union of Prosecutors (“Unión Progresista de Fiscales”)
Award: Premi Impacte 2016
Given by the College of Advertising and Public Relations of Catalonia (“Col.legi de Publicitaris i Relacions Publiques de Catalunya”)
Award: Premio Internazionale di Diritto Minorile
Given by the online magazine, Dirittominorile.it
Award: Premio Sol D'Or
Given by the International Environmental Movie Festival
Given by the Vilanova i la Geltrú’s City Council
Award: Premio IWater
Given by the first edition of the IWater show
In 2016, up to September 30th , contributions reached 2.1 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 more than 16,500 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 , the direct costs of our two missions came to 1.4 million euros. Of the total costs, 95% went towards direct action to be able to carry out the rescues and direct intervention in the sea. The remaining 5% were structural expenses, including communication costs.