There are tonnes of good ideas that can change the world. Regular readers of RESET will already know of a few. Every month, we will choose one idea that stands out thanks to its impact and innovative approach. Our favourite project in August: First Contact.
Thousands of refugees arrive on the Greek islands every day and local authorities are completely overwhelmed. A start-up developed an idea that offers relief not only to authorities but also to refugees: First Contact, guidance for new arrivals on Samos that operates under the motto ‘Welcome to Europe!’
Earlier this year, we wrote about various refugee aid projects and initiatives. Now a start-up has (on a ship in the Aegean sea of all places) started thinking about what displaced persons need when they arrive in Greece after their grueling journey. It quickly became clear that, above all, refugees need one thing: information. Where do I need to declare my arrival? Where can I get food? Where is the nearest doctor? Many refugees do not speak Greek and are unsettled.
Given the high number of arrivals, the shelter in Greece is chaotic. The Greek authorities and aid organisations are overwhelmed. The start-up boat brought together 18 founders who have been working towards finding a solution that eases the strain.
The result is First Contact, an information website for refugees arriving on Samos, a Greek island in the Aegean sea. The team determined that a large number of people carry internet-capable devices with them though these are not superfluous luxury devices as many claim. On the contrary, with their smartphones, they are able to remain in contact with their family and use navigation systems. In emergency situations, the devices can also be sold, bartered or loaned out. Simply put, they are vital for refugees.
First Contact works as a sort of instruction manual for new arrivals on Samos and offers important information in English and Arabic. The locally-tailored information platform complements the offer of assistance on-site, where additional SIM cards, and wireless charging options are provided. The platform not only offers information about where to find food, accommodation, the harbour and more to refugees but also to locals and tourists – Guidelines for Everyone.
First Contact simplifies people’s arrival and relieves the authorities. Further information is currently being collected in Athens in order to provide detailed Google Docs with information on other arrival spots.
Welcome to Europe!
Translated from an article by Hanadi that first appeared on our German platform.