World Refugee Day: The stories behind the statistics

By Kristin KalningOn June 20, we’ll mark World Refugee Day. It’s a day to acknowledge the millions of people who have been forced to flee their homes because of war, persecution and natural disasters. They are ordinary people: farmers and business owners and primary school children, robbed of their ordinary lives. Now they live in … Continued

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Communication Is Aid: Refugees Need Wi-Fi

By Lauren Woodman, CEO, NetHopeOn opening day at the Lagadikia refugee camp in northern Greece, the first Syrian families arrived tired and scared. Like millions of other refugees, they still faced uncertain futures. Wearing the weary expressions of people who have endured incredible hardship, the first question they asked the United Nations staff might seem … Continued

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Connecting with our global neighbors

By Madeline Kane“Marwah, Mufidah, Rafif, Nour,” Shirin names each of her children as she pats their brown curly hair. “Family,” she says in English. The canvas walls of Shirin’s tent shift and stretch against the wind, and the five press closer together.Shirin gestures toward the other children in the tent, who giggle as they clamber … Continued

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‘Information is like food’

By Madeline Kane“Information is like food here,” a Save the Children aid worker tells us. “All of the minors we work with use phones, and Wi-Fi is the only way they can connect with family and find out what will happen to them.”As soon as NetHope Wi-Fi goes live, refugees log on to search for … Continued

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‘For refugees, internet is a lifeline’

By Madeline Kane“For refugees, internet is a lifeline,” says Dr. Gundula Epp. Inside the German Red Cross tent at the Cherso refugee camp in northern Greece, Dr. Epp treats about 40 patients a day. The effects of trauma and stress can take a toll on refugees’ health, she says. “We see many women with three, four children, whose husbands … Continued

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Faces of NetHope: David Tagliani

By David TaglianiRelationships energize me. That’s why I love working with NetHope as an emergency responder.I came to work for NetHope in late 2014 while I was in West Africa with Mercy Corps. I had just finished my assignment when NetHope called about a project connecting relief workers in Sierra Leone during the Ebola crisis. … Continued

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Wired, and ready to receive more

By Madeline Kane, Google.orgEmma Eggink, of the Starfish Foundation, has seen many thousands of refugees land on the north shore of Lesvos: “The first thing people ask when they arrive is, ‘Where can I get Wi-Fi?’” Seated at the Captain’s Table restaurant in Molyvos, Emma and I ordered a coffee and logged onto the NetHope network. … Continued

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A family waits to be connected — and reunited

By Madeline Kane, Google.org “Ahlan,” Shirin smiled, holding back the white canvas flap to her tent. We accepted a cup of tea and a seat on her spotless floor, welcoming a break from the midday heat. Then we listened as Shirin told her story.Shirin and her five children came from Deir ez-Zor, a Syrian city near … Continued

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‘Even the small things we do can improve their lives’

By Chris Nieckel I don’t often spend time on ladders in my normal job as a Site Reliability Engineer for Google Maps. That changed during my two weeks as a NetHope volunteer, and so has my understanding of how important connectivity is for refugees. As I read the news about refugees each day from my home in Zurich, … Continued

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‘Refugees need Wi-Fi’

By Kevin MacRitchieIn the refugee camp of Lagadikia, Greece, workers were unloading everything from toilet paper to fire extinguishers as the first Syrian refugees began to arrive. Alongside the UN and NGO workers who distribute basic supplies, the NetHope team and I were there to set up a free Wi-Fi network.Marie Beriot, who is the … Continued

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