SARASOTA, Fla. (June 15, 2016) — At a time where global communication is vital humanitarian aid — a critical need just like food or shelter — The Patterson Foundation is providing $193,000 in catalyst funding to its international partner NetHope as the organization establishes Wi-Fi hotspots at 28 refugee camps in Greece. Tech partners Cisco and Facebook are also supporting the effort.
The Syrian refugee crisis is one of the largest humanitarian disasters in the last half century. NetHope and its team of technical experts have been working since October 2015 to provide connectivity and technical support for both refugees and the NGOs working to assist them. Establishing a connection to the internet through the Wi-Fi hotspots enables refugees to connect with loved ones in other camps, access important information and apply for asylum, which must be done via Skype.
A longtime supporter of NetHope’s emergency response work, The Patterson Foundation has contributed more than $1 million to the organization since 2011 to strengthen its global response efforts. The foundation’s contributions have benefited restoring communications and facilitating information-sharing needs during the Ebola crisis, the earthquake in Nepal, Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines and other disasters around the world.
“While food, water and shelter are basic needs in this modern age, information and communication technologies have become just as vital,” said Debra Jacobs, president and CEO of The Patterson Foundation. “NetHope continues to effectively work with global government partners, their NGO members and for-profit technology firms, as well as deliver on all of our previous investments in their emergency response work.”
Prior to the latest contributions from The Patterson Foundation, Cisco and Facebook, NetHope’s team has set up information infrastructures in more than 27 refugee settlements, impacting approximately 350,000 people.
“The Syrian refugee crisis clearly illustrates why we believe that communication is aid,” said NetHope CEO Lauren Woodman. “Internet connectivity gives refugees the ability to communicate with family and friends while planning their migration journey. NetHope is grateful for the generous support we have received from The Patterson Foundation.”
NetHope and its member organizations are committed to improving the human condition through the use of technology in humanitarian, development and conservation work. A collaboration of the world’s leading 49 international nonprofits and the technology industry, NetHope helps its member organizations realize the full promise of technology to solve the world’s most difficult challenges. For more information about NetHope, visit www.nethope.org. To learn more about The Patterson Foundation, please visit www.thepattersonfoundation.org.