Trude Jacobsen and A Drop in the Ocean receives Annette Thommessens honorary award for their work for displaced persons in Greece

The Board of Annette Thommessen Memorial Fund concluded that Trude Jacobsen’s commitment to support refugees in Greece since 2015 deserved the 2021 Honorary Award.

Back in Norway, pictures from the Mediterranean sea triggered a desire to help in many ways, said Nora Thommessen when she presented the honorary award in her grandmother’s name. 

One thing is to wish to do something, and another thing is to actually do it.

Furthermore, Jacobsen was honored for stepping in when she discovered that both the international community and international aid organizations were not at all present on the scene where most refugees entered Europe back in 2015. She traveled to the island of Lesvos and started mobilizing volunteers to help where the help was needed. 

The following days in 2015, she and 8-9 other people helped and welcomed as many as they could of the approximately 2000 people who arrived daily to the shores of Lesvos. Soon she was setting up emergency aid and organizing relief work in several places in Greece.

Back in Norway, more and more people joined an extensive network of volunteers who wanted to contribute in Greece. 

With the logic that many small streams become a river, she systematized and coordinated the efforts of the eventually hundreds of volunteers. The award winner became the anchor and meeting point for volunteers who wanted to contribute, Thommessen said. 

At the same time as she used her voice to mobilize contributors, she also used it to create political awareness in Norway.

Trude Jacobsen was humbled and grateful for the award.  

“I was looking enormously up to Annette Thommessen during my teenage years. I can still remember how she on the news conveyed the message about asylum seekers’ rights with a glowing commitment. She is without doubt one of the most important persons in Norwegian history, when it comes to the impact of Norway’s asylum laws and politics. What a lady she was!” 

Jacobsen took the opportunity to thank all the volunteers who contributed to A Drop in the Ocean.  

For the past six years, we have had a solid group of volunteers here in Norway who always supports us in any way when needed. In Greece and Bosnia Herzegovina, we have had about 8000 people working with us from 70 countries. They have turned the thoughts of doing good into action. We call them all our “Drops”.

This honorary award is prestigious for every drop. We truly needed this motivation. On behalf of all of us, thank you!   

The purpose of the Annette Thommessen Memorial Fund is to stimulate increased legal security for asylum seekers and refugees and an understanding of their situation in Norway. 

In collaboration with the Norwegian Organization for Asylum Seekers (NOAS), the fund awards an honorary prize each year in Annette Thommessen’s name.

Due to the pandemic, this year’s honorary prize was awarded for both 2020 and 2021. The prize was awarded on December 1st at Kulturhuset in Oslo to Trude and A Drop in the Ocean.