Refugees United offers mobile hope to search for your loved-ones

Posted By: Mamatha
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London, Oct 21 (ANI): In a noble effort to reunite families or relatives torn apart by war or natural disasters, a free mobile service has been set up, which allows people with even the most basic of handsets to quickly register their details via SMS, and be matched up with those looking for them.

The innovative scheme known as Refunite from non-profit organisation Refugees United differs from other social networks as it allows a user to upload only the information they are comfortable with sharing.

Christopher and David Mikkelsen founded the site.

"The idea came about when I was helping a young Afghani refugee called Mansour trying to locate his family a couple of years ago. While doing so, my brother and I realised this possibility of an online tracing tool where you could go in, do a profile, giving out information that you're only comfortable with," BBC News quoted David Mikkelsen as saying.

The site has since attracted thousands of users. But in order for it to develop further, the Mikkelsen brothers knew they had to reach audiences who did not have access to a computer and the Internet.

"We're doing a pilot on how to do search and registration via mobile phones. Not just via smart phones, but actually also by the old school text messaging system. Even in the most remote refugee settlements, you still find mobile phones everywhere," he added.

One area the system is being tried in is Adjumani, north Uganda, near the Sudan border. There are 10,000 refugees there, living in thatched mud huts. A lot of huts, however, offer a chance to charge mobile phones via solar panels. (ANI)

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