Helping refugees find their friends and familyBy Refunite
REFUNITE started from two brothers’ experience helping a young refugee called Mansour in Copenhagen. After six years of separation and searching, Mansour was finally reunited with his own brother in Moscow – and David and Christopher Mikkelsen knew they had to develop a better way to help others find their kin.
Close to 60 million people around the world – half of them children – are currently refugees. These displaced persons fleeing conflict and persecution spend on average 12 years in camps around the world. Along the way, some lose track of friends and family, and the current system of tracing these connections is disorganised and chaotic.
REFUNITE is a highly accessible tool that was launched in 2008 from a main office in Denmark. Brothers Mikkelsen and their team, working with Ericsson, offer REFUNITE as a service to consolidate and make available information on refugees to help families and friends help themselves. Searches for individuals can start with an SMS, phone call or mobile USSD code (many times free, from a local number) or from the project website.
The project is non-profit and non-affiliated – accepting only unconditional donations to maintain full independence. Between 2010 and 2014, REFUNITE saw over 5 million searches performed and a registered user base grow to 400,000. The power of the system is in the user’s own hands, and security is maintained through strict server control, adherence to the Danish Data Protection Act, and international guidelines on refugee protection.
REFUNITE is on a mission to reconnect forcibly displaced persons. The team is looking for supporting partners from across the private and public spheres. Any publicity helps – take a look at their website and contact REFUNITE through Twitter to find out more.
Last updated: 24th of August, 2015