What do we do?
There are more than 60,000 refugees in Greece and an overwhelming demand for information to understand what is happening to them.
As an organisation that has been working with information for refugees for the past two years in Hungary, Croatia, Serbia, Germany, Holland and the Greek Islands and mainland Greece, we are aware that asylum seekers in Greece are struggling to understand the processes which can result in them often being deported after receiving a negative decision.
Unaccompanied minors in particular are responsible for their own asylum applications and struggle to understand what they need to do access their rights. Refugees in general are struggling to integrate into a destabilised and bureaucratic Greek economy and society. Survival becomes paramount.
That's where we come in.
There is no other organisation with as much material available in as many languages as RefuComm. We work with the UN, Greek Asylum Service and other key actors in the country to help get vital yet lacking information to refugees.
We source information: checking dates, legality and rumour to produce, translate and distribute accurate information for refugees. The information we provide is focused on the bureaucratic processes in Greece - from asylum in Greece to family reunification and relocation, support for unaccompanied minors and vulnerable people to appealing against negative decisions.
We create documents, videos and audio files to get information to refugees in a format that works for them. Many refugees cannot read and this is particularly true of minors. We get into camps, squats and meeting places on the mainland to get information to refugees directly - to give them the best chance of understanding the system and preparing them for the various stages within it
We train volunteers so that they have a rudimentary but accurate understanding of the processes that they can share with refugees.
A 57-year-old mother of two, Kathleen Conabree has chosen to leave behind the life she's built in order to help those who had no choice but to leave theirs behind.
Having sold nearly everything she owned, she's bought a van and travelled 1500 miles across Europe, navigating mountain roads, brake failures and self-doubt along the way.
Her destination? Greece, a country where 62,000 refugees and migrants remain trapped by EU migration policy and border closures.And now, brakes repaired and doubts in check, her work can truly begin.
"There are loads of physical donations, but too many refugees do not know what the next step is in the processes in Greece," she said. "Information isn't all that sexy or headline- grabbing, so getting sponsors and financial contributions to continue the work can be difficult. But it really is the most vital, and missing, piece of the puzzle for the people stranded here".
Greece, struggling with its own financial crisis, is a country most refugees and migrants hope to move on from - originally envisioned as an entry point into the European Union and no more.
But since the closure of the Balkan route and last year's EU-Turkey deal it has, in the words of the country's own Prime Minister, become a "warehouse of souls".
For those who wish to stick to the increasingly limited legal options, knowing how to engage with the system - preparing for an asylum interview, for example, or appealing a negative decision - can be the difference between a new start or deportation.
With a generous donation from RefuComm, who have been part funded by 'Help Refugees', new equipment to show films and guidance from Sharon, Kathleen intends use her van to take this information to those who need it most, whether that involves using a projector to show movies about the asylum process, handing out leaflets or even organising workshops around key issues like interview preparation, reunification and relocation. Many people in the camps don't read so RefuComm have made films, audios and an animation to make it easier to engage people in the processes in a way that they understand. These will be shown in the camps by Kathleen and translators will be made available for questions and answer sessions.https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLCwovROtk5ZCVPZNZoGADC2GzxubpMuOC
We are working with Social Projects to create a platform that disseminates our information in order to provide critical information to refugees via an interactive messaging service called RefuBot (a chatbot that works through SMS and Facebook).
This group of coders, have unique experience in researching, co-creating and testing chatbots with refugees and aid organisations in Europe. Our research shows that this technologz is cutting edge. We have tested the product and it works.
RefuBot allows us to reach thousands of refugees with vital information. It also allows us to edit and maintain information in real time, meaning that the service remains up-to-date and valuable, as policies and information change, which they often do.
We work directly with the Greek Asylum Service and other NGOs n Greece to ensure we are in receipt of any new information and to ensure that we get them to check our information for accuracy.
We have much expertise in how critical and complex asylum information can be efficiently structured and formatted for use within a chatbot. RefuBot will put us in a unique position to enable us to inform refugees to with personalised and clear information...
By the end of January 2017, with your donations, RefuComm will have a live Chatbot on Facebook Messenger as well as Telegram that makes important information available on-demand to all refugee in Greece who have a smartphone
Please help us to provide essential information to refugees.