As the world has increasingly become digital, we are encouraging your church to reach out to refugees and asylum seekers in your community, helping them to stay connected with friends and community. We are delighted to be partnering with the Allchurches trust and Acts 435 to launch Refugees Online in 2021.
Help digitally-isolated refugees get online
Refugees Online will address:
1. The additional challenge for refugees of accessing technology in a second language during the pandemic.
2. The additional financial challenges faced by refugees during the pandemic, to access digital technology.
Does your Neighbour have access to a computer, a laptop, a tablet or a mobile phone where they can access the internet? In order to join in with online community activities they are likely to need a device with a camera on too.
Your Neighbour may have access to a limited amount of data, or they may not have access to any at all currently. There are a number of ways that you can help to provide internet access for a Neighbour: e.g. through a dongle, a WiFi connection or through providing data. There are many internet providers to choose from and you will need to think through the financial implications of this as a church, particularly if you choose to take out a contract with an internet provider.
Once the hardware and data needs are sorted, you will need to think about what support your Neighbour may need to get online. Is there particular software or apps that your church uses to join in with community online (for example YouTube or Zoom)? Does your Refugee Neighbour know how to use them? Do they know how to download a Bible in their language to their device?
Remember, for many refugees being visible online may pose a safety risk to them. Is there a way that your church can help refugees to join in with online community activities, without requiring them to have a public profile online?
Helping your Neighbour to get online will be hugely empowering for them – giving them access to a whole host of services, entertainment and activities beyond your church community. Try to help them in a way that empowers them to live independently, and doesn’t rely on another person’s support to access the internet in the long term.
Refugees Online inspiration
Church Central Birmingham is one church who has recently helped address the digital poverty refugees and asylum seekers face. We asked one of their leaders, Tim Brown, to share with us how their church has come up with solutions to solve this problem by running their own project.
Refugees Online Video Hub
We will be sharing with you a series of videos to help your church get the scope and plan for your Refugees Online Project. We will also be sharing resources that will help you to advertise your Refugees Online project and an Application Form which your church can use to recruit volunteers. The first video is available for all to watch below:
Video 1: An Introduction to Refugees Online
The Refugees online project is partly funded by the Allchurches Trust.