Rescue Boat

Reconnecting with Raissa and her baby, rescued by the ALAN KURDI two years ago

Raissa, a refugee from Cameroon, was rescued from a dinghy in distress in the Mediterranean sea by Sea-Eye crew. She was in her last trimester of pregnancy, and when the crew pulled her out of the water, she was unconscious and unable to walk or talk. Eventually, she recovered, and gave birth to a healthy baby girl after she disembarked. Read about her story and help save more refugees’ lives.

Raissa* has fled war, violence, assault and abuse in her home country of Cameroon. But her harrowing journey to Europe was equally perilous: as a single, vulnerable refugee woman, she was a victim of maltreatment by smugglers and ended up forcibly imprisoned in a Libyan detention center as she was trying to flee. She was held captive and abused for over a year.

“I fled the chaos of war and violence, and I was so stressed out that I barely knew where I was going,” Raissa told us.

Tortured, beaten up, malnourished and confused, Raissa found out that she was pregnant. During an airstrike, frequent in war-torn Libya, Raissa managed to escape the detention center. A local man who saw that she was pregnant took pity on her and helped her embark on a dinghy bound for Europe.

But Raissa’s unseaworthy dinghy began to capsize only 24 hours into their journey, with dozens of other people on board. If the ALAN KURDI hadn’t come to their rescue, all of the passengers might have died.

“I was so sick, confused and hurt that I didn’t know what was happening to me, and I lost consciousness when the ALAN KURDI rescued me,” Raissa told us.

ALAN KURDI

When she recovered, Raissa had only one hope: to build a decent life for her unborn child and find a place free from violence and abuse.

Vera, a volunteer nurse aboard the ALAN KURDI, recalled that when Raissa was rescued, she was 8 months pregnant, fading in and out of consciousness, and shaking heavily.

“Later, when she started to feel better, she started hugging me and kept on calling me ‘Mama Vera’. I was incredibly touched by this and it was a great honor to me,” Vera said.

Sophie, another volunteer aboard the ship, remembered that Raissa always helped to take care of the other children on board.

“I knew she would make a great mom,” Sophie said.

In spite of all of the hardships she had faced, Raissa’s baby, a beautiful little girl, was born in Europe, healthy and full of life, shortly after she disembarked. Thanks to the work of the Sea-Eye, Raissa and her little baby survived.

Sophie recalled: “When I first received a picture of Raissa’s baby, my heart was filled with joy: that perfect little girl is alive and well! That’s all I have been praying for. They are alive thanks to people who still care, thanks to the people who support civil sea rescue; people like you who are reading this story right now.”

Today, Raissa and her daughter live in a refugee camp in Portugal, and even though they are still facing many difficulties, they are alive, healthy, and safe.

Raissa mit ihrer Tochter

“God sent the Sea-Eye crew on my way, and to this day, those who rescued me are my only family in Europe – they are the only ones who showed me some kindness along the way,” Raissa says today. “I only wish that they will always keep their love for refugees and the kindness they have in their hearts.”

Help support Sea-Eye and their ships ALAN KURDI and SEA-EYE 4 to carry out more life-saving work, and show your love, compassion, consideration and care for refugees’ lives.

Help us protect women and children like Raissa and her baby. Do not let them drown.

Peaceful holidays to all of our supporters!
Thank you.

Story written by: Sara Cincurova, freelance journalist covering human rights.

*The name and sensitive details of her story have been redacted for her safety

Rescued people with blankets in Olbia

An article by Stefano Lotumolo on the arrival of ALAN KURDI in Olbia

We learn about the news of ALAN KURDI’s landing from Facebook on Thursday evening (24/09/2020). We read many racist comments under the Olbia.it post reporting the news.

I look at my girlfriend and say, “Okay, we can’t miss it.

We wake up at 5:30 a.m., ALAN KURDI’s arrival is scheduled for 6:00 a.m. The weather is bad, which is the reason why ALAN KURDI is not continuing its course to Marseille and is allowed to dock in Olbia.

Around 9 o’clock a miserable bunch of Lega supporters and neo fascists arrives.

The ALAN KURDI docks at 10:00 am.

Take them to your home” they are yelling at us, with their arrogant and intolerant attitude.

They do their show for the ritual photos; Showing off is the only thing that matters to them.

They want to protect the Italian borders from 125 people seeking protection who are fleeing from war, fished out by ALAN KURDI’s angels in the Mediterranean Sea in 3 different rescue operations.

Arrival of ALAN KURDI in Olbia

Almost half of the migrants are minors.

The youngest is 5 months old.

We greet the frightened men and women and try to understand what is going to happen.

The setting up of the tents starts at around 12 o’clock.

Why couldn’t it be done earlier? We were there from 6:00 am in the morning.

The wind is strong, sometimes it turns into a storm and people are forced to stay on the ship.

They start disembarking at around 6:00 pm, there are women sitting on the ground with their children.

It is cold.

Most of them are barefoot.

They look at us, we look at them. I feel guilty. Awfully guilty.

Rescued people and police in Olbia

I wish I were on that ship; I would like to tell them that everything will be all right and that in a little while, finally everything will be over.

But unfortunately, that is not the case.

For the night, a reception center is set up outside the industrial port, they would stay there.

Welcome to Olbia

We go back on Saturday to have news and we manage to interview the Chief Officer Josh, who welcomes us with “open arms” from behind a railing.

“NO ONE PUTS THEIR CHILDREN IN A BOAT UNLESS THE WATER IS SAFER THAN THE LAND”.

From the poem Homeby Warsan Shire, a young Kenyan writer and poetess.

Today no one cares about the news anymore.

Arrival in Olbia

But how much do we really care about these people?

Or do they only make the news one day and disappear the next day?

“But how much do we really care about these people?”

Many of them are unaccompanied minors, children who arrive in an unknown land without their parents after experiencing no one knows what tragedies.

“Dear haters, look who you have poured your hatred on.”

Dear haters, look who you have poured your hatred on.

The most vulnerable people of this unjust world.

On Sunday evening we manage to bring pizzas to the whole crew.

A great honor for us.

Being able to document the landing just before my next experience was a great sign. I am about to begin a silent walk that will take me from Assisi to Riace where I will meet Domenico Lucano.

Domenico, the former mayor of Riace, has created a model of integration for migrants that has been recognized all over the world.

It is now up to Europe to find solutions, including for hotspots in Greece. We need precise rules.

We are all the same, there are no first or second-class human beings.

Love generates Love.
Love generates positive feelings.
Love generates life.

Have a good life, everyone.

With love.
Stefano.

The Author: Stefano Lotumolo

With a diploma in accounting, he worked as a floriculturist in the family business until the age of 28. In 2015 he left his safe harbor to start travelling, getting to know himself and the world.

In June 2017 he embarked on his first photographic journey, three months backpacking in Africa. From there, his life changed completely. Through photography he wants people to see human beings the way he sees them through his eyes, and he perceives them with his heart.

He wants to transmit the same love and respect he has for life.

Through photography Stefano wants to be a voice for the voiceless, tell stories of real life and the various vicissitudes of the people he shares his life experiences with.

Photos in this article: © Stefano Lotumolo