This Week in Refugee News

June 9, 2017

Each week we collect the most interesting, inspiring and innovative refugee stories from around the world to share with you. Here are this week’s picks:

The Digital Footprint of Europe’s Refugees (via PEW Research Center)

How much can a “digital footprint” tell us about when and where a refugee flees? A lot more than you may think.

Using publicly available Google Trends information, and limiting searches to only those in Arabic, researchers have been able to better illustrate the path and timing of refugees fleeing Turkey for Europe in 2015 and 2016. For example, in Turkey, searches for terms such as “Greece” and “smugglers” peaked in August 2015; soon after, arrivals of refugees in Greece also peaked.

Read the entire report and how new data is helping us better understand the movement of refugees.

Airbnb Pilots New Platform to Provide Housing for Refugees and Evacuees, Partners with International Rescue Committee (via Airbnb)

Seeking a creative way to help people forced to flee their homes, Airbnb launched the pilot program “Welcome” an initiative that allows participating Airbnb hosts open their doors and welcome refugees and displaced people into their homes free of charge.

“The simple act of opening your home for a few nights can be life-changing for people who who’ve had to leave everything behind.” Joe Gebbia, Airbnb CPO & co-founder

Read more about the pilot program and how you can participate.

Silent Crisis: Children Flee the Terror of Central American Gangs (via USA for UNHCR)

As the world focuses on Syria, South Sudan, Yemen and other flashpoints, gang warfare and violence have transformed the Northern Triangle of Central America into one of the most dangerous places on earth. Sadly, children are being targeted for forced gang recruitment and coerced into sexual exploitation.

“He told me he was a member of Mara 13, and I was not allowed to leave that house. They took me, and started selling me to men.”

Read more about the current situation and hear the stories of young people who have escaped.

Utah Nonprofit Helps Hundreds of Refugees go to College (via CNN Money)

The Refugee Education Initiative is helping hundreds of resettled refugees in Utah overcome economic barriers so they can attend college. Many aid recipients in turn are giving back to their local communities.

“I’m just trying to give back to the communities that have impacted my life,” said Husna Adan, a 21-year-old refugee originally from Somalia who recently graduated from University of Utah with help from the Refugee Education Initiative.

Read the rest of Husna’s story and others who have benefited from the program.

The Books that Helped Me Come to Terms with the Horrors of War (via Vice)

“I was 12, and a friend and I were on our way to school when the bombing started. We ran for our lives, got separated and I headed towards my house. When I got home I was alone and in shock – my mum was at work and my sisters were at university. I was freaking out, desperate to forget what was happening all around me, so in an attempt to shut it out, I decided to read a book.” – Mia Z.

Mia Z’s story is featured in Vice’s New Neighbours series, in which young refugees from across Europe guest edit VICE.com.

You can read Mia’s story and those of other resilient young refugees here.