In 2014, over 3,000 people died crossing the Mediterranean Sea while attempting to flee conflict in African countries. Millionaires Regina and Christopher Catrambone were deeply affected when they learned this startling fact. One day while sailing on the Mediterranean they saw a lifejacket floating in the water. Their boat captain casually mentioned it likely belonged to a dead migrant trying to get to Europe. The couple decided then and there to donate half their fortune (7.5 million dollars) to create the Migrant Offshore Aid Station, an effort that would find poorly constructed boats full of migrants and rescue them.
Most of the boats these refugees are traveling in are doomed from the start. If the ship doesn't sink, the passengers are still susceptible to hypothermia, starvation, and dehydration. The U.S. has acknowledged what a terrible tragedy this is, yet most nations are actually pulling back funding. They believe if they put funding towards the journey it will only encourage a larger number of migrants to attempt it, thus risking more lives.
Luckily there are generous people like the Catrambones, who were able to rescue over 3,000 people within just 60 days of starting their mission. For Christopher Catrambone, this mission is a personal one. After Hurricane Katrina in 2005, his house was destroyed and he had to flee the U.S. for Europe. His world is very different from these migrants, but because he has also been displaced, Christopher feels he can relate to them. In the end, we are all human and we all need some rescuing now and then.
Watch more Seeker:
Can The Death Penalty Ever Be Humane?
Read more about the migrant journey across the Mediterranean:
Time: Meet the American Couple Saving Thousands Trying to Get to Europe
The Migrant Offshore Aid Station