Connecting refugee families worldwide

Post Date: May 27th, 2011 | Categories: Advocacy | COMMENT

Every day, families are torn apart in their escape from war, persecution or natural disasters. All too often they end up in different parts of the world, afraid, alienated and alone. Refugees United is a fully independent non-profit organization working to provide refugee families with a global, anonymous and user-driven tracing system to help them reconnect with missing loved ones. All asylum seekers and refugees can register on the Refugees United search site using information such as nicknames, scars, former locations and the like that is recognizable. A layer of anonymity means members who have fled their home countries in fear can preserve their safety while still sharing enough information for family and friends to be able to find them.

In light of the widespread use of mobile technology throughout Africa, Refugees United, has launched a mobile version of their application. The mobile site allows users to easily access the application via mobile phones and low-bandwidth internet; four short video tutorials, available through their website show how to use the service. One of the founding brothers, David Mikkelsen tells: “The idea came about when I was helping a young Afghani refugee called Mansour trying to locate his family a couple of years ago. While doing so, my brother and I realized this possibility of an online tracing tool where you could go in, do a profile, giving out information that you’re only comfortable with.” The site has since attracted thousands of users. But in order for it to develop further, the Mikkelsen brothers knew they had to reach audiences who did not have access to a computer and the internet. “We’re doing a pilot on how to do search and registration via mobile phones. Not just via smart phones, but actually also by the old school text messaging system. Even in the most remote refugee settlements,  almost everyone has a mobile phone now.”

You can visit their site here

Searching for missing friends