Imagine leaving behind everything you have ever known. Your only form of contact, access to money, access to information? Through your phone. Your phone is now your lifeline.
Statistics show that roughly 86% of today’s refugees have access to smartphones. Unfortunately, access to electricity is limited in camps, as are opportunities for advancement and education. To address these problems, the student-founded organization Elpis (Greek for hope) has developed a sustainable solution which is already making a difference for thousands of refugees across Greece. This sustainable charging station (Solar Hub) can charge up to 120 phones a day, running solely on solar energy.
Their latest Hub, piloted in camps in February 2017, contains an offline platform providing educational eBooks, legal information and translation apps available in Arabic, Farsi, and English. Users can connect wirelessly to access these materials on their electronic devices. With over 12 solar hubs already installed across Greece, Project Elpis aims to further develop the platform by tailoring it to the respective feedback of each camp.
Project Elpis’ experiences at camps never fail to leave them inspired and hopeful. During their latest installations, the team had the pleasure of meeting Heba and Ahmmad, a couple from Damascus. With Project Elpis’ educational offer, Heba can carry on with her studies in English Literature, whilst her husband, whose background lies in mechanical engineering, has been able to assist with their Solar Hub installments. Now, Ahmmad is their point of contact in the Andravidas camp in Kyllini.
Providing people like Heba and Ahmmad with the tools to move forward with their lives, despite living in camps like Adravidas, lies at the core of everything Project Elpis does.
Continuing to grow, looking to partner with leading organizations and exploring new ways to scale up their impact, Project Elpis continuously looks forward. They hope to expand their services, ideally providing satellite coverage through their unit, as well as extend their reach beyond refugee camps in Greece.
We are experiencing a defining moment in history, but it rings familiar; it is always in the darkest points that the greatest examples of human compassion and resilience can be found. Project Elpis is proud to be working to provide a small solution to one facet of this very complex crisis.