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.
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.
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.
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.
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.