Day 3
One day of internet access for a refugee home in Germany

No Internet without volunteers

Internet access for refugees

A mother from Sierra Leone can reconnect with her daughter on Facebook, a Syrian agricultural engineer can find a job in a nearby garden centre, an amateur beekeeper from Syria can find a bee hive for establishing a new colony next to his accommodation and a group of colourfully dressed ladies is at an online German class and almost in union declaims "Isch eisse Michael" (my name is Michael) into their headsets. To many refugees, access to the Internet makes starting over in a new country much easier. It helps with translations, leaning a new language, getting to know new people and keeping in touch with friends and family as well as keeping on top of the complicated bureaucracy involved in the asylum application process. But in most refugee shelters there is no free Internet access.

Necessity

 

Internet access in accommodations for refugees in Germany.

Activity

 

Installing and maintaining of Internet connections and computer terminals in refugee accommodations.

Countable effort

After around 12 months

Period of time that the Internet access at the refugee accommodation can be maintained.

Result

After around 3 years

Refugees have better access to relevant information and social connection.

Systemic effect

After around 7 years

Refugees can oriented themselves better in Germany and are able to live a self-determined life again.

Background

Access to the Internet is not a service that refugees are entitled to according to the Asylum Seeker Benefits Act. In shared accommodation, people are not allowed to have a private Internet connection. Private initiatives such as the association "Refugees Online" come in where official channels fail. So far, they have taken more than 100 refugee accommodations online, in order that refugees can communicate with their families and find their way around their unfamiliar surroundings.

The good deed

Refugees Online e.V. sets up and maintains Internet access in refugee accommodations. The association installs professional WiFi hotspots which can even handle a large number of users. Now it is important to fund the continued running of these connections: The state does not provide for these kinds of services.

Challenge

The greatest challenge is the structural conditions in refugee accommodations. For example: air-inflated structures far away from any phone lines; military barracks without a single civilian land line or containers that are unfortunately very good at blocking wireless signals. Often it is not allowed to lay cable or mount up devices, and so hundreds of people have to share a single connection. Simply installing a wireless router is not enough. Every specific case requires ingenuity and individualised technical solutions.

About Germany

Berlin

Capital

81 413 100

Number of inhabitants

40 952 USD

Gross domestic product per capita per year

6

Human Development Index

2015 saw as many people seeking sanctuary coming to Europe as never before. Germany played a major role in taking them in.

About the organization and further information

Association

Refugees Online e.V.

Certified by

Further information and source