EVENT DATE: Sep 17, 2015
As most of you know, I've relocated to Berlin, Germany for the year. During my time here the refugee and migrant crisis has been an unavoidable and harsh reality. Germany is on track to receive 75% of those seeking refugee status, mostly Syrians, Eritreans and Afghans, with approximately 800,000 estimated to arrive before the end of the year.
As Berlin is Germany's capital and cultural center, ares of the city have been turned into makeshift shanty towns and camp grounds for men, women, children & the elderly alike. As a product of an immigrant family, the situation here, although worlds better than it is in places like the Hungarian border, Kos and Calais, is troubling to say the least.
I was introduced to a local organization which has launched the a lifesaving campaign, using a 98-year-old former houseboat called Sea-Watch, it responds to the distress calls of boats filled with migrants making the treacherous trip across the Mediterranean headed for Europe. Sea-Watch, started at the end of last year by a German furniture entrepreneur, is run from a ramshackle, 69-foot-long ship by a rotating crew of eight volunteers that includes professional offshore rescuers, physicians and idealistic seafarers. Built in the Netherlands in 1917, the ship was last used for sport-fishing cruises. Equipped with no up-to-date navigational equipment, and has to be repaired regularly between missions.
There have been successful fundraising attempts on the behalf of the organization, but not enough to purchase a new ship. This is where your donations will go. Toward the purchase of a new vessel, facilitating safer and more effective life saving missions. No matter what your political stance on the war in Syria and subsequent mass-exodus, I hope that you will put them aside and focus on the daily human tragedy it has resulted in.