How Passion & Technology Are Improving Refugee Outcomes

Recently conflicts and poverty in the middle East and Africa have reached such a height that people have begun to flee. Refugees are leaving for a better life in Europe. In order to reach Europe one must cross the Mediterranean Sea and this is no easy task. Last month 700 migrants came to a formidable end in the cold Mediterranean sea. A week before that about 400 refugees lost their lives attempting to cross the sea. This year the total in refugee deaths resulting from attempts to cross into Europe via the Mediterranean in this region is at 1600, a big increase form last years 96.

Unfortunately the Italian run search and rescue operation Mare Nostrum was shutdown last October and that’s been a likely cause for the increased number of deaths in refugees since then.

Fortunately the Catrambones, a wealthy couple inspired by Pope Francis whereby he criticized what he termed “global indifference”  to the refugee crises, have decided to build an ocean bound rescue mission of their own.

Their ship is a 40 m converted fish trawler that includes a medical center, two high-tech drones, one thousand liters of water, hundreds of life-jackets, lots of food and a crew of emergency trained medical professionals to take care of the refugees once on board. The drones are equipped with camcorders that allow the ship to search for refugees in trouble out to a 60 mile wide radius from the ship. This technological capacity greatly enhances rescue operations.

phoenix ship

They have rescued 3,000 people since their launch date last year. This year they will be teaming up with the NGO Doctors Without Borders for medical support after rescue.

This is a great personal philanthropic contribution as the funding for this initiative is coming out of their own pockets with operational costs at $445,000 each month. Much gratitude to this couple for their initiative and commitment to saving human life.

If you had the funds to help people in need around the world what cause would you choose and how would you do it?

Read more about the Catrambone family mission here:


Jaclyn Hawtin

Jaclyn Hawtin is an expert in the field of technology and international development. She has successfully led multiple growth focused technology programs in both the public and private sectors. Her previous assignments abroad have posted her throughout Europe and South America.