Who We Are:
Working at the frontlines of Europe's ongoing refugee crisis, Refugee Info Bus is an independent, UK registered, but very mobile, charity. We are dedicated to supporting refugees on the move, or who have just arrived in Europe, with up to date and accessible legal information and assistance, free WiFi and phone charging.
Our mission is to assist refugees in having access to the rights that people with European passports take for granted. We currently work via two mobile buses in Greece and France, and have a strong Facebook following stretching from Germany to Iraq, Turkey, Afghanistan, Iran and Syria.
How we started:
Our first Refugee Info Bus began life as an old horsebox, purchased, stripped out, cleaned-up and converted into a mobile office and WIFI hotspot for refugees and asylum seekers living in the Calais ''Jungle'' Camp. Within a year, we facilitated over 91,000 WIFI logins and delivered more then 1,000 workshops to 3,000+ individuals in the UK and French asylum systems.
Our Work in Northern France:
Though it is now more than a year since the “Jungle” was destroyed, refugees continue to arrive in Calais. With no centralized camp individuals are scattered across the town, finding temporary shelter wherever they can: forests, industrial parks, beneath hedges. We continue to provide Wi-Fi and phone charging facilities to homeless refugees, as well as information about claiming asylum in France. Hundreds of refugees and displaced people meet with our team every week to understand their rights, discuss their plans, call their family and/or access the Internet. Living homeless as a refugee is fraught with anxiety, loneliness and danger. Making contact with parents, partners or children that have been left behind at home, or even stranded in transit countries can relieve this tension slightly. Everyday we see the positive effects that our service has on our beneficiaries wellbeing.
Our Work in Greece:
In March 2017, we expanded our operations to Greece, where officials estimate that arrivals are today at their highest level since March 2016. These individuals are increasingly among the most vulnerable, including those who have suffered violence, who are victims of rape and/or who have been tortured. More than 60,000 are stranded in Greece, many living in camps that are at twice or three times their holding capacity
By providing legal information and advice, we helped refugees navigate the complex and ever changing asylum process in what is one of Europe’s major points of entry. Operating in camps across the mainland and islands, including the Lavrio, Ritsona, Elefsina, Scaramanga, Souda changing Vial camps, we did this work using both handouts, and audio and video materials. Refugees were also able to meet daily with our team of legal caseworkers, who speak Farsi, Dari, Urdu, Arabic, Kurmanji and Sorani and have personal experience of the asylum process in Greece.and
We also set up an online series, which over the past 9 months has included 32 videos and reached over 750,000 people. The series is devised and produced by our video team based in Athens, with refugee team members taking on research, production, and presenting roles. Speaking to an audience of whom they have been part, Refugee Info Bus team members are able to effectively reach their peers, dispelling some of the complexities and frustrations that characterize the ever-changing goal posts of the Greek and European asylum system. Currently presenters speak in Arabic and Farsi, with English subtitles overlaid so that these videos might also act as a resource for English-speaking friends and supporters.