The WorldWide Tribe WiFi for Refugees
A team makes a portable WiFi system for refugees.
17:28 23 October 2018
A charitable organisation brings internet access to people living and working in refugee camps.
The WorldWide Tribe, which was set up Nils and Jaz O’Hara, has teamed up with Samson Rinaldi, a fabricator, and Richard Thanki, a PhD student, to start JÄá¹…gala, which makes portable Wi-Fi systems. The group has found that although many refugees had access to smartphones, poor internet connection and expensive data charges still keep them from connecting with their friends and family back home.
JÄá¹…gala built its first Wi-Fi connection in the Calais Jungle in December 2015. It started with a 4G connection that was later rolled into a WiFi strong enough to support 500 connections simultaneously.
“In Calais, when we had more traditional networks, people were charging their phones on them and bits would go missing and batteries would go walkabout,” Nils says. “That’s why we decided to make our systems more mobile and in a box.”
“The first thing people do when they get online is make voice calls to their families to tell them they’re safe, so when it’s going well you’re the most popular person in the camp,” Samson says. “But when the Wi-Fi stops working, you become very unpopular very quickly.”