I have been running Aegean Boat Report, a Norwegian NGO, since December 2017, from a small town in the north of Norway. People following the page have believed that this was done from the ground in Greece, and by a team, not one single man. It has been challenging, and a lot of hard work.
I have used thousands of hours, at the expense of my family, to provide correct and neutral information to the general public. The refugee crisis isn’t over, just because the journalists left.
Its still ongoing, and arrivals on the Greek Aegean Islands haven’t been this high since 2015.
Before I started Aegean Boat Report, I gathered information, and distributed it on a daily basis, to teams and volunteers on the ground. This so people working on the islands, could have a better overview on the situation. I have been supporting teams and volunteers, since early 2016.
In late 2015 I worked as a volunteer on the shores off Lesvos north, taking in boats day and night. This experience changed me, for better ore for worse, it made me who I am today. Dose this make me a better person?
I don’t think so, but perhaps it has made me more reflected on the word we live in.
Aegean Boat Report is only a part of what I do, the part I can publish about. I’m also involved in, what many refers to as “online rescue”. It’s complicated, but short version is that people in distress at sea, make contact, desperately asking for help. My role in this is as a mediator, between the boat in distress and rescue services. We have saved thousands of lives, by providing good accurate information, so that people have been found in time. But not everyone has been saved, for some it was to late.
To hear people desperately screaming for help, knowing they will drown, is the brutal reality of this work.
In the beginning Aegean Boat Report was a small page, a couple of hundred people followed it. It was easy to monitor comments, answer questions etc. Today the job has become much bigger, in a month ore so, ABR will reach 20.000 followers.
Besides posting daily info on arrivals and incidents, weekly and monthly reports, many people wants information. Volunteers, organization, journalists, students, researchers, film makers, government officials and family members of people lost at sea. I’m trying my best to answer everyone, to give the best information possible, but one man can only do so much. For those I haven’t had time to help, I’m truly sorry.
Many ask why are you doing this alone? – what’s in it for you, why use all your time on people you don’t know? – there is no point, because you can’t help everyone. And yes, it’s true, I can’t help everyone. But I can help someone, everyone can in their own way. If my work have saved one life, only one, my time spent over the years has been worth it.
I have tried to get people involved, to volunteer, but it’s not easy to get people to work for free, especially work that they can’t post on Sosiale media about.
In the coming months, I will try to get funding for Aegean Boat Report, so that my work can continue. It’s impossible for someone to do this job, maintain a normal day job, and taking care of a family at the same time, it’s just not possible anymore.
The goal is to be able to do this job full time, if I can find sponsor that see the importance of the work ABR has done and is doing. For me it’s important that the work of Aegean Boat Report is sustainable over time, but without proper funding this will be impossible.
I will do fundraising, as I have done in the past, to try to raise some funds. But fundraising takes up a lot of my time, time I don’t have, time I must use on more important things. Fundraising can not provide the financial stability, that is needed to run this organization.
I’m humbled by all the support I have received, from people sharing their information from the ground, from all who has supported my fundraisers, and everyone who are sharing my posts. I’m truly grateful, thank you all from the bottom of my heart.
Remember, nobody can do everything, but everyone can do something!