By Frank Schott, NetHope Managing Director of Global Programs
Imagine fleeing your home. Your country. Your life.
Now, imagine not being able to let your friends and family know that you’re safe. Imagine not being able to check the news, find local resources for food, education, health services and more. This is the reality for so many Syrian refugees arriving in Greece: They’re safe, but they’re disconnected.
“Information is as important as food here,” says an aid worker from Save the Children. While many Syrian refugees have mobile phones, they need connectivity to contact loved ones and to access crucial information like border closures.
Perhaps most importantly, Wi-Fi connectivity enables refugees to officially ask for protection. The only way to request asylum from within Greece is to book an appointment with the Greek Asylum Office via Skype.
Since October 2015, NetHope has installed Wi-Fi hotspots and charging stations in the Middle East and Europe. To date, NetHope estimates that more than 350,000 refugees have benefitted from the Wi-Fi connections that have been installed in Europe.
Over the next few weeks, we will share with you stories about our work. We will start by introducing you to just a few of the refugees we have helped. We will also share stories about some of our team members and corporate partners who made this all possible. And we will talk about some of the other organizations we have been cooperating with in the region.
NetHope is proud to be on the ground in Europe, providing help and hope to the people in these stories and thousands more. Stay tuned for more stories to come.
This post is part of an ongoing series of stories from NetHope's work in Greece to provide connectivity to refugees.
- 'Information is like food'
- 'For refugees, internet is a lifeline'
- Faces of NetHope: David Tagliani
- Wired, and ready to receive more
- A family waits to be connected - and reunited
- 'Even the small things we do can improve their lives'
- 'Refugees Need Wi-Fi'
- Faces of NetHope: Kevin MacRitchie
- Matt Altman - Supporting Refugees with Wi-Fi
- Atallah's Story - Connecting Families at Cherso
- Introduction: Connecting Syrian Refugees