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Saving Lives is not a Crime: Helena’s Story

Typically, saving countless lives from drowning at sea would make you a hero. In Helena Maleno’s case, she’s facing criminal charges.

Helena is the head of Caminando Fronteras — a Fund grantee working to protect and promote the rights of migrants in North Africa and the Euro-Med region.

During the migration journey, many migrants run into trouble and drown while attempting to cross the Mediterranean. It’s Helena’s job to prevent that from happening. As you will see in our latest video, Helena runs an emergency helpline for migrants crossing the sea, and helps ensure live-saving information is passed on to rescue services.

Her interventions have prevented thousands of people from drowning over the years. But instead of being celebrated, she has been harassed, threatened, and wrongly accused of human trafficking.

Yet Helena refuses to stop fighting for migrants’ lives — even if it lands her in prison. This grit and tenacity make her the kind of activist that will move the human rights movement forward.

The Fund is proud to have supported Helena’s work since 2015, getting her the critical resources she needs to continue saving lives. On International Migrants Day, you too can support Helena by watching and sharing her story.

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