"800 people missing or feared dead in Mediterranean". This headline opened the front pages of worldwide newspapers on April 19, 2015, after a boat full of refugees, that had departed from the Libyan coast some hours before, sank in the middle of the sea. Shocking news that probably has already been forgotten by the collective memory, but nevertheless it has left its mark on a German 18-year-old student, Jakob Schoen, who at that time was in high school.
Jakob, upset about this fact, decided then to take the initiative and start a very ambitious project: get money to buy his own vessel and launch it to the Mediterranean Sea to save lives.
Those first ideals would gradually take shape under the name of 'Jugend Rettet' (Youth on Rescue), an ONG formed by a multidisciplinary team of 10 young men and women from Berlin. By the end of 2015, they started a crowdfunding campaign in order to get money to buy the vessel that would make their dream true.
And so, on July 24th this year, the first rescue mission departed from Malta on board of Iuventa, the name given to the vessel, with a crew of 13 members, including Jakob. Something that started as a dream of a German teenager, has became one of the main rescue ships forming the fleet of NGOs that are coordinated to save lives about 20 nautical miles off the coast of Libya. Over five thousand people have been rescued by Iuventa until today.