Social media and mobile technology have joined food and shelter as basic needs for migrants and refugees everywhere. Even going as far as changing supply and demand for smugglers and refugees in Europe, tipping the prices down as the people who already made the journey share their experience, including GPS coordinates and every other information you need to “Smuggle yourself to Europe without a trafficker”.
Once you arrive at your destination, migrant, expat or refugee, the first order of business is buy a SIM card and get Wi-Fi or mobile data. From there you can find collaborative apps and websites to help you find food, learn the language and locate shelter, dozens of them!
Below are a few of these amazing initiatives, this list is by no means extensive, so if you find other useful apps or websites for these categories please leave a comment and we’ll add them!
The first thing we need is internet access. So starting with apps that make it possible for your device to provide free wifi to people around you, then moving on to places where you can get free Wi-Fi access:
- Most universities around the world have the Eduroam wifi network, you can log into it with the credentials you used to login to Eduroam at your local university. You can probably also find friendly students at migrant help offices who will help you with this.
- There are also many sites which locate wifi hotspots around the world.
Many apps and websites connect you to a network of people who have too much of a determined fruit or vegetable in their gardens and will want to trade of give it away to someone in need:
Other sites will help you find fruit and vegetables in public areas, and even tell you the rules for picking them:
However, as both the ones above are dependent on seasonal produce, you can also check out https://fallingfruit.org/ which maps out soup kitchens and other places which provide cheap or free food as well.
Granted, there are already a ton of free online dictionaries and language learning apps, but as a migrant or refugee, what you need is usually more targeted language information, luckily, there are also quite a few sites and apps for this. Bab.la itself is a free dictionary and sports a great migration phrasebook.
Now this is a bit trickier, refugees are particularly vulnerable to this issue, as the wait for visas and residence permits that allow for work can be very long. Here one Brazilian initiative stands out, Migraflix. They turned the migrant-local relationship on its head by having the migrants offer courses about their culture, food, music and language to the local people. Then, the migrants are no longer the people who are helpless and need to receive aid from the established local population and government, but providers of services and products, and the locals are the ones receiving and learning from them.
If you know any other initiative like these, please tell us about it in the comment section!
Last, but in no way least, for refugees in particular, here are a few key initiatives for information, accommodation, and other key needs:
Refugees Welcome – connects you to a network of flat shares who are hosting refugees.
Migration AID – helps refugees arriving to Hungary to reach the camps or travel forward.
Apps For Refugees – provides free apps on every basic need, from education to maps.