February 29, 2012
We almost always write these blog posts about honest people returning lost items. Occasionally we introduce you to people who deserve recognition for their remarkable display of doing the right thing in general. Today is the first time we have shared a story about returning the most valuable thing you could ever lose; a loved one.
I came across an article published by an English newspaper agency that reports on events in the Middle East and Africa. This article introduced a solution to one of the world’s leading problems, internationally displaced refugees. A non-for-profit organization called Refugees United is the solution to the problem. In 2008 two brothers, David and Christopher Mikkelsen launched Refugees United with the goal of using the internet to reconnect refugees with their families no matter how far apart they were. The UN’s High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) reported that the number of people forcibly displaced globally reached 43.7 million. This number includes people who were displaced because of political unrest, war and violence, and a host of other reasons. These people are referred to as internationally displaced and often end up as refugees in other countries far from their homeland. Loved ones and family members are often separated and divided when these tragic events occur forcing a family to split apart across cities, nations, and continents.
How does Refugees United solve this problem? The same way we reunite lost items with their owners, by using technology. When the Mikkelsen brothers founded Refugees United, they knew they needed to reconnect families all over the world. So together with a team of supporters and visionaries they constructed an online forum where refugees can create a personal profile providing information about themselves that only family members would know and understand. Specially trained representatives visit refugee camps all around the world helping people create safe and valuable profiles, allowing family members to search for their loved ones. By using laptops or even mobile phones in the field, United Refugees workers can update the massive online database with fresh and active profiles giving people a chance of finding the loved ones they need.
Thousands of refugees have been helped and countless families have been reunited because of this service. Not everyone has the opportunity to reunite lost children with their parents from across the globe, but even when you participate in returning a lost item to its owner you’re making the world a better place.
February 29th, 2012