Innovation That Matters

24 hour hotline helps those fleeing their country to avoid danger

Work & Lifestyle

Syrian refugee, Mohammed Abu Amar, provides refugees with weather forecasts and technical assistance to help them cross the Mediterranean.

Here at Springwise, in the wake of the refugee crisis, we’ve written about several innovations involving mobile phones, that help those seeking safety in another country to survive. Amongst some of the most interesting examples are this social app that helps refugees build connections with locals by translating in real time, and this Swedish mobile network which invites customers to donate the monetary equivalent of their leftover data to support the UNHCR’s work in Syria. Now, a Syrian refugee has set up a 24 hour hotline service to help those fleeing their country to navigate the treacherous journey.

Mohammed Abu Amar fled Syria in 2013 with his family after a bombing in Damascus. The journey had significant psychological repercussions on his children, and Abu Amar himself lost the use of his two legs. Prompted by his experience, he has created a 24-hour hotline to help refugees cross the Mediterranean. With the aim of encouraging those fleeing from resorting to smugglers, likely to betray them and leave them in the open sea, Abu Amar as guides Syrians on their boats. Now based in Hamburg, he provides them with information on the weather forecasts, directs them according to the coordinates of their boat and offers technical assistance if it breaks down, contacts the Coast Guard when the sea is too rough or if a passenger falls overboard.

Abu Amar has never changed his mobile phone number, one of the most shared by Syrian refugees. He and his network have responded to 80,000 people and guided more than 900 boats to Europe. However, he admits, “It’s hard. But I get so many calls. I can not help.” How else can mobile phones and network companies support refugees?




Download PDF