While many organizations focus on immediate needs during a crisis — food, water and shelter — one group aims to share joy, laughter and fun with affected populations of all ages. Clowns Without Borders, an American based organization, has been visiting refugee camps and conflict zones since 1995 to put on performances and ensure that people, especially children, are able to find happiness even in incredibly difficult situations.
Just a few days since the 7.8-magnitude earthquake hit Nepal, three inflatable tents—each measuring over 1,000m2 in floor space—arrive at the airport in Katmandu. Folded and deflated upon arrival, each tent weighs 2,600 lbs and requires 10 people to carry it from the plane to a waiting truck, which begins a slow and difficult journey to the relief site in the mountainous Gorkha district. Upon its arrival, staff work frantically in shifts throughout the following days and nights to set up a fully-functioning inflatable tent hospital.
More than 40 million people around the world have been displaced by conflict and other emergencies. Many of them end up sleeping under tarps and tents in terrible living conditions, far from the homes they once knew. Now, an architect named Abeer Seikaly has come up with a new shelter design.
Did you know that it only costs $0.50 to feed a child for a whole day? The World Food Programme is making this fact known far and wide through its new mobile app, ShareTheMeal, which is now available for Apple and Android users. It has already been dubbed as “the world’s first app against global hunger.”
Flowminder, a Swedish nonprofit, has developed a technology that uses position data from SIM cards to track the movement of people. With a focus on assisting vulnerable low and middle-income countries at scale, the organization collects, aggregates and analyzes anonymous mobile operator data – through cooperation with mobile companies – and data from satellites and household surveys.
When we think about the needs of refugees, we usually think of basics such as food, water, clothes, and shelter. But in recent weeks, new images have arisen of refugees arriving in Europe by boat, toting smartphones and taking selfies.
Nearly every day for the past few months, newspapers and television broadcasts have been full of headlines about the current refugee crisis. Tens of thousands of people are being displaced from their homes and seeking better lives across borders and seas. While plenty of journalists have been covering this, few refugees have been given the opportunity to tell their own stories. Danish newspaper Dagbladet Information is changing that.
The UNHCR has introduced and promoted the use of mud stoves and biomass briquettes in the Nakivale refugee camps in Uganda through its Briquette-Making Project, a simple innovation that is having a major impact for women and children in the camp.
In 2015, the United Nations celebrates the Year of Light, an “observance that aims to raise awareness of the achievements of light science…and its importance to humankind.” Yet, as Pia Vogler writes, “Night time [in and of itself] is scarcely discussed when it comes to the analysis of life in a refugee camp.”
We are inundated with headlines, videos, photos and stories detailing the current refugee crisis. While a daunting and seemingly insurmountable issue for global leaders, people around the world have taken the politics out of the situation and work to provide solutions of their own. Here we showcase current initiatives in three European countries.