Refugees United -reconnecting families
Refugees United is a non-profit independent organization with the mission of reconnecting thousands of separated refugee families across the globe. Today, there are an estimated 43 million refugees and internally displaced people worldwide, a staggering percentage of which have lost family members or friends in their escape from natural disasters, political persecutions or armed conflicts.
Refugees United was founded in 2008 by two Danish brothers, David and Christopher Mikkelsen, based on a personal journey trying to reconnect a young, Afghan refugee with his family. In their search, the two brothers discovered how existing family tracing programs were lacking in using cross-boarder, collaborative technology and how the process of family tracing was tied to often cumbersome procedures and paperwork.
Refugees United set out to change the state of things by developing an online, mobile-enabled search tool that empowers refugees to take the search process into their own hands and start looking for missing family and friends. Refugees United does not offer physical reunification, but the search tool enables refugees too reconnect with people they have lost contact with.
The tool is accessible via a computer or any entry-level mobile phone and is free of charge. Users provide only the amount of information that they themselves find safe to share, which give them the opportunity of staying anonymous. Registering with the Refugees United tool, users can choose to register with personal information that only their family or closest friends would recognize, e.g. birthmarks, favorite foods, or other person specific information.