“Why do refugees even need mobile phones anyway?”

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I recently wrote about the refugee situation in Europe, but there’s something else to say about mobile phones in the situation.

In the UK, a lot of the response to appeals such as those of Calaid (see below), is that refugees don’t need mobile phones. Ironically, despite the fact that such a large proportion of people use mobile phones in the UK and so you might imagine we’d consider them to be everyday objects, the idea of a refugee brandishing a phone is, for some people, problematic. But then if we consider how we use mobiles, and the contexts that some of these people are coming from and then arriving in, it becomes clearer why – to stay in touch with those they’ve left behind, to contact emergency services and organisations they are being supported by or might need to answer to, etc. Here‘s a much better distillation of the issues. I suppose the ultimate question we could ask ourselves is: after food and clothes, what is the next thing you’d need if your country was destroyed by war and you found yourself in a foreign camp?