A group of Vietnamese refugees have banded together to raise funds for Migrant Offshore Aid Station (MOAS), a non-governmental organisation that has already saved 10,000 people in the Mediterranean in its first year of operation.
Emmy Award winning documentary director of Bolinao 52, Duc Nguyen−one of the millions of Vietnamese refugees who fled across the South China Sea at the end of the US war in 1975−and his team of volunteers have launched a hashtag and fundraising campaign called, #ICAREBECAUSE, to raise awareness and much needed donations for the search and rescue charity.
It is estimated that as many as 30,000 lives were lost in the Mediterranean by the end of 2014, making it “the world’s deadliest migrant crossing,” according to International Organization for Migration (IOM). In July and August this year alone 900 migrants died from drowning, asphyxia and dehydration in the Central Mediterranean region.
Duc Nguyen says, “In Vietnam we have a saying, ‘Ăn trái nhớ kẻ trồng cây,’ that means, when eating the fruit, think of the person who planted the tree. Now as we are established in the land of freedom, it is important to give others the same chance at survival that we were granted and metaphorically plant a new tree of life.
“For those of us that belong to the Vietnamese overseas community, we share a moral obligation and social responsibility to support this mission.”
MOAS Director Martin Xuereb comments, “As someone who was saved at sea and went on to contribute to society, Duc Nguyen couldn’t be a better ambassador for MOAS’ humanitarian action. His sensitivity towards the refugee crisis at Europe’s doorstep resonates perfectly with the reason why Christopher and Regina Catrambone, the MOAS founders, set up the NGO. They felt they should not be bystanders.”
The hashtag campaign will launch across Twitter (moas.eu) and Facebook (Migrant Offshore Aid Station), where members of the public will be encouraged to record themselves in a short video completing the phrase “I care because…” and then tag #MOAS and #ICAREBECAUSE online.
An online landing page at www.moasusa.org will provide advice to participants on how to create and upload their videos and also suggest fundraising ideas and materials to those who wish to become fundraising activists.