One day of internet access for a refugee home in Germany
81 413 100
Gross domestic product in USD:
40 952 USD
Human Development Index:
Place 6 of 188
2015 saw as many people seeking sanctuary coming to Europe as never before. Germany played a major role in taking them in.
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.
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.
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.
After around 7 months
After around 3 years
After around 7 years