The Projekt Seehilfe e.V. was founded to support refugees arriving in Sicily. We are working in a pragmatic and solidary way – and maybe this is why we are so effective.
Our story begins in summer 2014 after the reception centres in Lampedusa and as a result many refugees arrived in the south of Sicily. For the refugees the living situation is dire. There is a lack of medical, psychological, integrative and administrative support. Italy, trying to manage the humanitarian disaster at its boarder, struggles to comply with human rights.
Following the news of more and more people drowning on their way to a supposedly safe and secure Europe, for Johanne and Philip the feeling of being inactive became more and more unbearable. As their urge to be active and supportive grew, they started a private initiative with Anne and Anna. Together, they decided to collect donations in Bremen and Jena and to bring them in a van to Sicily. The response was tremendous. The media reported; a local car dealer provided us with a van. At the end of August, Johanna, Philip and Anna brought the donations to immigrants in two reception centres and started to establish a network of supporters. With a portion of the donated money they were able to buy desperately needed groceries for one of the so-called ‘illegal’ camps, in which immigrants live under a motorway bridge.
What we would like to achieve
After this first journey, impressed and concerned by what we have seen in Sicily, we decided to support the refugees directly and in a sustainable way. In November 2014, the private initiative was turned into a registered charity based in Bremen. The team grew constantly in the last two years and consists of 20 volunteers at the moment.
Due to our volunteers, we are able to carry out two trips to Sicily each year. In 2016, we organised our biggest project so far in cooperation with Hanseatic Help e.V.: an aid convoy with more than 14 tons of relief supplies.
We know what is possible with the right kind of motivation and ambition. And we know why our work is so important.
“Solidarity must not end at borders – neither within Europe nor at Europe’s external borders.” – The basic idea of Projekt Seehilfe e.V.