2020 was a complex and unexpected year, the coronavirus pandemic has disrupted our lives, changed our habits and questioned our certainties. We managed to overcome many obstacles and difficulties within our social and working spheres and among our families, which have highlighted our vulnerabilities and weaknesses, but also made us rediscover our strength to readapt in such a complicated situation.

In refugee camps all over the world, the pandemic has further complicated the lives of those who were in already precarious conditions, by reducing movements and preventing the implementation of fundamental services provided by those who are committed to offering daily support.

In Libya, along the Balkan route, between the United States and South America and along all the world’s barbed wires, the voices of those who search for a better life, flee from violence, poverty and war remain unheard.

In countries tormented by ongoing conflicts, people continue to lose their lives and suffer from violence, torture and hunger every day.

This year has ended with a glimmer of light. The arrival of the vaccine makes us hope that, step by step, we will manage to go back to the normality of our lives, by shortening the distances that today keep us apart.

A vaccine that I hope will be given to all those vulnerable people who live in the most unfortunate places of the world, in refugee camps and countries afflicted by war.

Despite the difficulties faced in 2020, the MOAS team did not give up, and we managed to launch different projects in Bangladesh, Yemen, Somalia and Malta. During this new year, we will continue to assist and give a voice to the most vulnerable, as exemplified by our return to the Mediterranean Sea to resume search and rescue operations in collaboration with our partner Sea Eye.

I hope that the challenges we overcame in 2020 made us appreciate everything that we have always taken for granted, even breathing fresh air without a face mask or hugging our loved ones. That it gave us more awareness of the importance of solidarity, of every small gesture, of giving a helping hand to those who are near but also to those who live thousands of kilometres away from us in unimaginable conditions.

I wish that all of you can feel the joy of giving, an action that makes yourself and others happy and that contains within itself the gratitude for everything we are lucky to have.

Happy New Year!