5 ways that technology is helping refugees make a new home
- 12 March 2019
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Refugees continue to brave treacherous land and sea routes to escape persecution in their own countries, but their trials do not end once they reach Europe and North America. According to UNHCR figures from 2018, over 1.8 million refugees have arrived in Europe since 2014, many of them hoping to find a new home in the continent.
We have compiled a list of five useful apps and web services for asylum-seekers trying to find family members, integrate with their new social environments and find work.
Where it is available: iOS devices
Germany is the top destination for Muslim refugees, and Welcome App Germany is just what asylum seekers and refugees need when they arrive. The app provides vital information for those first steps as well as for everyday challenges.
The app’s content includes information about life in Germany, rules and procedures for applying within the asylum system, as well as the addresses and descriptions of important authorities.
Where it is available: web platform, free helplines, mobile networks
With more than 1 million registered users, Refunite is the world’s largest missing persons’ platform. It was started by two Danish brothers, David and Christopher Mikkelsen, after they met a young Afghan refugee named Mansour who had been separated from his parents and five siblings during their escape from Kabul.
Since its launch in 2008, it has reconnected more than 40,000 families. Refunite has partnered with the United Nations, Ericsson and various mobile network operators to make its database accessible to refugees across the globe looking to reconnect with their loved ones.
Where it is available: iOS and Android phones
This is an app for migrants and refugees as well as for the volunteers and organisations that help them. RefAid uses geolocation to gather information from trusted aid organisations about the locations of aid, the types available and their service hours, and it displays it all on a map of the area within 150 km of the user.
This information it provides includes legal aid, food, shelter, water, toilets, showers, health and education. RefAid is currently available in Europe, the United States and Turkey, and it provides information about services from over 5,000 trusted service providers.
Orten.io is a Swedish organization that takes technology events to the “segregated parts of Sweden”, meaning the areas populated by multicultural people. With the larger aim of supporting tech entrepreneurship, it organises events and immersive workshops as well as training of talented women and minorities from low-income areas to inspire greater inclusiveness and cooperation.
5. REFUGEE INFO
A website that provides information to refugees arriving in Greece, Italy, Serbia and Bulgaria, Refugee Info aims to give asylum seekers all the information relevant to their situation, including the location of hospitals, internet access, and language classes. It also has a list of frequently asked questions covering work, asylum-seeking, applying for citizenship and several other important topics.
(Writing by Susan Muthalaly; Editing by Seban Scaria firstname.lastname@example.org)
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