26 young beautiful lives lost.

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Imagine a group of 26 teenage girls.

Just have them in your mind….

Now imagine them all drowning in the Mediterranean Sea.

Devastatingly, this actually happened just last week.

26 young girls lost their lives as they attempted to start a new one in Europe, making the crossing from Libya to Italy.

They were all 18 or under.

The youngest girls were just 14 years old.

The bodies of these girls were recovered by a Spanish rescue ship who single handedly rescued more than 400 people in the same mission including 90 women and 52 children.

One of these survivors was a week old baby.

So why are more women dying than men?

The fact that the crossing is more dangerous for women has been linked to poorer swimming skills and attempts at saving their children.

So how have 26 teenage girls died at our shores without it making it’s way to mainstream news?

These girls join the 2,839 people who have gone before them, also losing their lives at this same attempt to safety.

And that is JUST THIS YEAR.

Nearly 3,000 people THAT WE KNOW OF, have died in a sea that many of us go on our holidays to.

Who knows how many more have drowned, but their bodies never recovered.

So close to us.

Whilst there is STILL no legal way for these thousands of people to come to Europe, these numbers will continue to rise.

Read the full article here:

http://www.refinery29.uk/2017/11/179935/teenage-girls-dead-bodies-found-sea-migrants

To donate to our work supporting Refugee’s, please click on the button below:

Diaspora

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To celebrate Eid and Refugee Week, The Worldwide Tribe presents….Diaspora.

From Syrians to Sudanese, from refugees to volunteers, from Europe to the Middle East…millions of people are affected by the refugee crisis we are STILL in the midst of.

People are on the move in the biggest migration the world has ever seen…

…But why?

Where are they going?

Why are they leaving?

Who are these people and what does this mean for the world as we know it?

How is the world responding?

In an attempt to meet those affected and find out…we bring you Diaspora.

Directed and Edited by Jamie Noel http://www.jamienoeldirector.com/

Why Should We Help?

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Why should we help?

We should help because one day it could be us, so easily, with just a twist of fate.
We should help because it’s the right thing to do.
We should help because our lives here are important and the lives of the people who need help are equally important. It’s the decent, human and most natural way to to want to behave when others are suffering.
We should help because we are one human race and in order to survive and flourish we need to act as one.

Throughout Europe there are thousands of abandoned people. Thousands of lost children.
In Calais alone, there are 608 unaccompanied minors.
Even one is too many.
This is replicated throughout Europe. Families are living on the streets, and for what? We have the ability, the resources to help them.

Even from a selfish point of view we should be helping…

What example of humanity are we setting for our children, and for the children that we are neglecting? An example of mistrust, judgement and hatred. We are creating the perfect melting pot. A catalyst for extremism. For if we don’t work on helping and educating the children of this crisis, what will become of them? We are aiding and abetting the extremists with our hostility and inaction, creating a breeding ground for these groups to flourish, and being the best recruiters for ISIS that they could ever dream of…

This is why we should help.

Question answered by Brendan Woodhouse, our Search-and-Rescue team member working in the Mediterranean between Libya and Italy.

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1,000 People

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Diary of tribe member Brendan Woodhouse, working in the Mediterranean Sea between Libya and Italy:

“An incredibly busy day after a period of calm. We helped 1,000 people today and it started just before sunrise, spotting a rubber boat in the distance, we went to help straight away.

In case you don’t know, the boats in the Mediterranean route are usually rubber, but are larger and slightly more stable than the ones I saw in Greek waters. They’re also not landing on the beaches as we are rescuing them from the sea.

The boats have between 120 and 150 people on board and are incredibly packed. People sit on the tubes on the side of the boats but most are crammed inside. The vast majority of the people are without lifejackets (guessing at about 99%) and cannot swim. They generally travel with the only possessions that they have on their backs. Usually not even shoes. They have almost no chance of reaching land. The boats that don’t get found are likely to drown. That’s why our work is so important!

So our first job was to head out in our little boat and make contact with the refugees and start distributing lifejackets, but this reduces space further in the already packed boats. This was happening as the sun was rising.

We waited with the boat until another rescue team came and took over and we headed back to our big ship..Seawatch 2. I threw some scrambled eggs down my neck and we were quickly sent on to our next mission. A total of 8 rubber boats were in our vicinity and our team handed out hundreds of lifejackets. Working well with other organisations, a clear picture of the situation was developing…

In the end we were sent to a more urgent case as one of the rubber boats was deflating. We started to disembark the people almost immediately with our RHIB (small boat) doing the shuttle runs to the ship. As it was so time critical to get the people off the boat, we were assisted by Proactiva Open Arms, the legends of Lesvos. They joined in the shuttling of the people and soon they were all onboard the ship.

We then had the group of refugees on board for hours until they were passed on to the coastguard. I had the opportunity to spend some time talking with them. They seemed to be from all over Africa and there were some lovely people to meet. I spent a lot of time talking to a man from Nigeria who told me all about why he left. I didn’t ask, as I don’t believe in questioning people when they arrive in our care, but he started talking, so I started listening.

His business had been burned out, as had his home by gangs who wanted to strong arm him. The oil price globally has plummeted and the economic impact locally for him was severe. He told me the prices of fruit and rice in his area, and being honest, I couldn’t survive on such heavy demands. The local population is suffering badly as a result. He was beaten and threatened with death by a gang. And he spoke about the political situation there as one of being entirely corrupt. He showed me the scars of torture on his back.

Horrible.

Another young boy, only 16 years old (pictured), had had hot oil deliberately poured on him just a few days ago. He only spoke French, so information for me was difficult. He was on his own and as brave as could be. Our medical team worked on treating his wounds and it must have been so painful. He didn’t cry at all. Eventually he went to sleep using a cuddly toy, in the shape of a lamb, as a pillow.

We sang with some of the women and played with an 18 month old baby. I talked for about an hour about football with a group of guys. I converted some of them to support Newcastle, but I know that I’ve only made their suffering worse. Seriously though, the guys were brilliant and knew all the players. With one older guy trying to chip in by telling the rest about George Weah and Roger Miller. The rest of us said that it was a sign of his age and I felt young again even though he’s only a few years older than me. It was a real moment of distraction and happiness. Football is such a uniting thing to talk about. Like music. And we spent ages finding out what positions people all preferred and who their favourite players were. I loved every second!

The day ended late, with the rest of the crew hugging the group as they left. I’d fallen asleep as I had night watch later but I’m sad I missed saying goodbye.

I honestly think that this is one of the best feelings in the world though. To provide dignity, hope, comfort and laughter to these wonderful souls is a privilege that I’ll never forget.”

To donate to Brendan’s work, and the work of the rest of our Search and Rescue team:
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Brendan: Saving Lives At Sea

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Update from Tribe Member Brendan saving lives out at Sea:

“I’ve spent some time reflecting on the first few days of this mission. It’s been utterly bizarre, and horrifying. The people crossing and arriving in our care, I’ve never seen anything like it.

The fear, the relief, the total exhaustion, the determination, the sadness and the joy of survival all mixed together in eyes of the hundreds of people I’ve seen.

We’ve rescued a hell of a lot of people and given out hundreds of lifejackets. We’ve provided medical care and comfort to numbers that are simply staggering. The numbers however, are just numbers, so I’ll leave statistics out of it. Each individual person is so incredibly important and each individual has their own story.

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We’ve rescued people from all over. From Bangladesh to Nigeria to Eritrea. From Ghana to Sudan to Somalia. All kinds of people too, rich, poor, old, young, men and women. I can’t really keep up, it’s too much for me to take in. I just keep going, getting into the RHIB (a bit like a speedboat) when we spot a boat in distress, and dealing with whatever comes.

We work hard all day and eat when we can, eventually to slump in our bunks for a nights sleep. The team here is just awesome, and I love every single person in it.

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A few moments that have stuck in my head include comforting big Barrett from The Gambia, a 23 year old giant of a man, full of muscles. After I returned to the ship from the RHIB, I went straight to see if any medical assistance was needed in the medical room. As soon as he saw me, he started to cry. He’d recognised me from pulling him out from the sea. This big bloke was sobbing his heart out, telling me how grateful he was for saving him. It really took me aback, it was like comforting a weeping lion.

Then there is the moment that I pulled a guy from the sea who had no lifejacket. I saw him go under the water and scream bubbles as the fear of death burned from his eyes into mine. He inhaled the sea, I saw it, but we still saved him. And then we just moved on to the next situation, the next person, like it was nothing. But it was everything to him.

Another moment I will never forget was just a couple of days ago, when I was passed the limp, exhausted body of a woman who had collapsed from dehydration on a rubber boat. So long had they spent squeezed together, in the sun. It showed me how important the work we do is, for if she had been there much longer, she would have surely died, as so many do.

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There was the time that we took so many out of the sea that had fallen in, that our RHIB was completely flooded, a guy was bailing water out and throwing it over the side, but we were slightly below the waves at the back of the RHIB, so he was effectively achieving nothing. We just let him continue as we spluttered our way back to the ship.

I remember the moment that we rescued a boat with about 500 people onboard. The boat listed to one side, and I truly thought for a moment that we were about to witness a tragedy for hundreds. In the end it was a tragedy for fifteen people (and their families back home) who suffocated in the lower deck. I remember feeling lucky that it was only fifteen and then, being saddened by my own twisted perspective on life in that moment, feeling that I’ve become desensitised to all of this.

On another occasion, I was talking to two young lads who were asking about my football shirt. They said that they would now support my team, Newcastle United, and one day go and play for them. I told them that they couldn’t be any worse than we already had, and I offered them a place in the starting line up. They both just laughed. They were teenagers, seventeen and fifteen. Just ordinary boys, with normal dreams that all our boys have. No difference whatsoever. And that’s the thing really, there is no difference between us at all..

The only differences that there are, are man made and it couldn’t be any simpler than that for me. I was born in England, so I get one set of rules. They were born in Africa, so they get a different set of rules. Why do I get special treatment? What did I do to deserve such privilege? Who wrote these rules? Is it just the lottery of life? Can’t they work hard to earn a living in the same way that I do? Or is it a deliberate greedy plot to keep the riches of this world for the few, at the sacrifice of others?

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So many of the reasons that people are making this journey are driven by the west though. And I’m not just beating up on the west, it’s more about the puppet masters than the rest of us. In the uk, 100 people have 30% of our riches, and they want to keep it that way. Other European countries have similar disparities. Greed and political power are driving this world to fight each other. The destabilisation of many parts of this world are caused by the will to control, for power and greed.

This destabilisation is the route cause of the Mediterranean crisis and our governments don’t seem to care enough about the consequences of it. They’d rather people drown in the sea than offer safe passage and assess the asylum claims from Europe. It’s the greatest tragedy of our lifetime.”

However ordinary people like Brendan and team member Dan are stepping up to do something about it, literally saving lives. To support our search and rescue efforts:

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DIARY OF A SEARCH AND RESCUE TEAM MEMBER

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Our lovely Dan has just got back from search and rescue training in Wales, and tribe member Brendan is just about to begin three weeks of rescue work off the coast of Libya. This is how he’s feeling right now:

“I’ve arrived safe in Malta and being honest, I’m a little nervous. For the next three weeks I’ll be working with Seawatch, a German organisation that I have worked with before in Lesvos.

It was with Seawatch, when on 17th March, I was part of the team that rescued 150 people from a sinking boat near the harbour of Palios.

This work is different to what we did in Lesvos. The Seawatch 2 is a ship which will leave Malta in a few days and head to the Mediterranean Sea, north of Libya, where literally thousands of people are desperately trying to cross, every single day, in dangerous, unseaworthy boats to reach Europe.

Thousands-each-day!

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The lack of safe passage routes is forcing people into the hands of smuggling rings who care little for the people that they traffic. Over 2,500 people have drowned so far this year trying to make this crossing, with heartless smugglers packing tight the overcrowded boats.

Our governments are complicit in orchestrating this tragedy though, by creating hell on earth in foreign lands, and taking no responsibility for the consequences.

There are a few groups trying to do something to help these lovely people though, and Seawatch are one of the best. I absolutely adore what Seawatch have achieved over the last year or so and I’m immeasurably proud to be part of their team. They have played such an important role in sea based rescues.

I have no idea how many people owe their lives to Seawatch and long may they continue. I have to say though, that they can only continue their life saving work with continued donations. I’m going to document my part in their journey in an effort to highlight both the plight of the people crossing and the incredible work that Seawatch do.”

There will be more updates from Brendan over the next few weeks.

Please consider donating to our search and rescue efforts here:
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United with Love

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Build bridges, not borders.
Choose unity, not separation.
Choose love, not fear.
Go into every situation with an open heart.

We are all connected.
We are all the same.
We are all human.
We all live on this world together and we should share it accordingly.

We must come together in support of one another.

We are one.

The Worldwide Tribe

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Lampedusa Cross

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My little foster brother has been upset this last week or so. He’s been struggling to go to school, and live life as normal, after hearing the devastating news of another boat sinking off the coast of Italy.

He made this very journey himself. By himself. He talks about the women screaming and the babies crying.

Many of the people on this boat were Eritrean Christian, just like him, fleeing persecution in their home country.

Of the 500 people on board this overcrowded boat, only 151 of them survived. The boat caught fire, capsized and sank, bringing men, women and children with it.

This cross is made from the wreckage of this boat. A carpenter on the island of Lampedusa collected these bits of boat and made a cross for each surviver, to reflect their salvation.

Our rescue team is undertaking training this summer to prepare them physically, mentally and emotionally, to continue working to do the very best we can to put an end to these devastating deaths.

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Four Hundred Lives Lost

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Today there are reports that 400 people have drowned in the Mediterranean Sea.

Four hundred lives lost.

Over the past 16 months, thousands of people have died crossing the Mediterranean and Aegean seas, trying to reach Europe. People who are fleeing war, persecution and death.

And all they want is to be safe.

These are men and women and children. They are mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, sons and daughters. They are lawyers and engineers and workmen and students. They are people. People like you and me, and they are gone.

Today, amid the news that many more souls may have been taken too soon, we will remember them all.

We will remember them with love, as we would our own brothers and sisters.

We will remember them with peace and hope in our hearts, and we will trust in a better future for us all.

Please, do not let them be ignored. Do not let them be forgotten.

We hope they have finally found peace.

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These beautiful images of the boats coming in were drawn by tribe member Esme Mull on the ground in Lesvos.

Esme will be joining Dan and Sim in Izmir this week to document the refugee crisis in Turkey through her incredible artwork. You can learn more about her project, and support her work, here.

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