Refugees to reconnect with families through technology

With a new social site and mobile capabilities, refugees in Kenya can be reunited with their loved ones.

Refugees United, Ericson and Safaricom have come together to provide a platform where refugees can create their profiles and be found by family members around the world.

Speaking to a local news channel, the founder Christopher Mikkelsen said that when they started the platform their aim was to reconnect family through the web. But in Africa, it would be more effective if they used the mobile phone networks.

Sanda Ojiambo of Safaricom also confirmed that the operator will act as a carrier of the Refugees United in Kenya and be a technology enabler.

Refugees United will work with refugee bodies such as the Refugee Consortium of Kenyan (RCK), UNHCR and the Red Cross to fill the database of refugees willing to be reconnected.

The way the platform works is that users can sign in anonymously on to the platform. Then users can fill in as much details as possible to make their profiles unique.

When one user does a search, they can customize it to the last detail to make sure the right profiles pop up. This would include, nicknames, names of pets, names of friends etc

The site can now be accessed through mobile browsers making the reach for the service quite easy for the users.

Refugees United says that it has connected over 50 families from their database of 135,000 refugees. This new announcement came at a time where the world commemorated Refugees day.

In 2005, David and Christopher Mikkelsen met an Afghan refugee. They noted the problems refugess went through filling up forms to reconnect with their families. Then they came with the idea of reconnecting families through technology. Afterwards, Refugees United was born in 2008.

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