“I never forget that I could have been in their position.” -  Ilias Papdopoulos, NetHope Refugee Connectivity Coordinator

By Lauren Woodman

Google has been an important partner to NetHope for several years, and I can’t think of a better way to punctuate our World Refugee Day coverage than to thank Google for their recent blog post, and for producing this moving video commemorating our connectivity work together. The video brings life to the experience of installing Wi-Fi at refugee camps, and introduces Ilias Papadopoulous, a kind and hardworking team member who doesn’t seek, yet certainly deserves recognition.   

Ilias is an electrical engineer by training, and has previously worked as a telecom engineer for one of Greece’s largest ISP providers. He had been volunteering to support refugees as part of a church mission project. Ilias now works as our local NetHope Refugee Connectivity Coordinator, and is an invaluable part of the team.

In addition to Ilias’ warmth and compassion, I’m also struck by the words of the aid workers interviewed in the video. These workers are in the camps long after our crews leave, and they know the daily challenges and frustrations of the people who live there. Here are two quotes that really struck me as I watched:

“Having the internet is essential, because it makes people feel they’re not forgotten, that they exist.” - Eva Tsentemidou

“The fact that [refugees] had internet helped them to believe for something else. And that was something amazing.” - Georgia Mitsika

World Refugee Day has come and gone, but our work to support and protect refugees continues. Access to information is just as critical as food, water, shelter, and healthcare. We are grateful to have partners like Google who are equally committed to this effort and tireless advocates like Ilias in the field.

If this story inspires you, we welcome your donation to NetHope and its efforts to provide critical connectivity to refugees.

Filed Under: World Refugee Day