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Apps for Refugees

By Content Contributor: Juhhie Mendiratta & Amy Crofts

With a growing number of displaced persons around the world and the need to stay connected to family and friends, NGOs, governments and start ups are building mobile tools for refugees. Below is a sampling of apps available for refugees across the globe, to assist with communication, navigation, language learning, and support from donors.

Communication

REFUNITE – REFUNITE is an independent technology based non-profit. They have partnered with Facebook’s Free Basics service, making their platform available for free in 17 countries. REFUNITE’s web and app based platforms work to reconnect families. It supports several languages—English, Arabic, Farsi, German, Spanish, French, Turkish, and Greek.

Information & Navigation

InfoAid – is an app developed and maintained by volunteers thru Migration Aid based in Hungary. The goal of the app is make vital information and updates available for refugees. A major challenge for refugees to use mobile applications is a lack of access to the Internet, wifi or data. OsmAnd is an offline map and navigation app, with map and navigation information available worldwide.

Language

Phase6 hallo – is an educational app for children and young migrants who have a limited knowledge of the German language. The aim of the app is to speed up language learning through vocabulary, comprehension, and writing practice for better transition and integration into the school system.

Giving

GiveNow is an app that facilities item donations, for voluntary organizations and for refugees. The app connects organizations with donors who collect donated items and bring them to refugee-serving organizations. Items that can be donated include: smartphones, blankets, travel bags, sleeping bags, train tickets, baby products, hygiene, shoes, and clothing. The app is limited to one organization in Berlin, but other agencies can apply to use this service.

…and Finally

A more comprehensive look at Apps for Refugees: How technology helps in a humanitarian crisis, was recently published in the May 2017 issue of The Atlantic. Hopefully these apps and articles give you a good idea as to what technologies have been developed and are available for refugees and displaced persons.

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5 Stories of Resettlement Success

By Content Contributor: Juhhie Mendiratta

Canada resettles refugees to save lives and provide stability to individuals fleeing persecution and oppression. Here are five stories about refugees who have fled their home countries and are now successfully building their new lives in Canada.

Tarek Nemr’s Story

Tarek Nemr successfully arrived in Canada in April 2017 after fleeing the violence and bloodshed in Syria. Previously, he was living as an asylum seeker in Jordan. The Calgary Centre for Global Community raised $12,500 and found accommodation for him to resettle in Calgary. Nemr is excited to be in Canada and his main priority is to find work and start his new life here

Read the full story here.

The Alrajab Family’s Story

A Syrian family with disabled children were welcomed to Saint John, New Brunswick. Three of their five children were diagnosed with a neuromuscular disorder called leukodystrophy that causes atrophy in the muscles and nerves.

“For a disabled child, resettlement is particularly critical as it opens up opportunities for education, medical and psychological support, and often, a more conducive non-discriminatory environment in which to grow and flourish,” says Michael Casasola, UNHCR Senior Resettlement Officer.

Read the full story here.

The Hadhad Family’s Story

In 2012 the Hadhad family ended up as refugees in Lebanon, and four years later Isam, his wife, Shahnaz, and their four children were among the 40,000 Syrian refugees resettled in Canada under the Welcome Refugees initiative.

Weeks after settling in Antigonish, the family relaunched their chocolate business, eventually christening it “Peace by Chocolate.” The Hadhads donated their profits made during the month of May last year to those affected by the Fort McMurray wildfires.

Read the full story here.

Safwan’s Story

Safwan, his wife and three children were accepted by the Government of Canada in January 2016 as government-assisted refugees in Toronto. COSTI Immigrant Services, funded by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, helped Safwan and his family find housing and resettlement services in Canada. He started working at Adonis Supermarket and is expecting to open his own business soon.

Read the full story here.

Ibrahim Haltl Dudu’s Story

Ibrahim Haltl Dudu arrived in Toronto in September 2016 and did not speak English. However, when the zipper of a bride’s dress broke on her wedding day, and with the help of Google Translate and a positive attitude, Dudu saved the day! Jo, the bride, was sewn into her dress, the zipper was done up and she was ready to go for her big day.

Read the full story here.

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Feb.13, 2017

Forum focuses on success of refugees

Lethbridge HeraldNow that they’ve settled into their new lives in Alberta, how are our Syrian refugees doing? That was the focus of a community forum held here last week. The Alberta Association of Immigrant Serving Agencies held its fifth and final session here to hear about the experiences of Syrian refugees who call Lethbridge home. The results of the study are expected to shed light on their specific needs, barriers and experiences.

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