Vodafone has announced it is working with leading charity Refugee Council to distribute smartphones, devices and connectivity to refugees, including those fleeing Ukraine. Vodafone has donated 3,000 smartphones, connectivity and 1,000 portable chargers to the programme and is extending its popular Tech Appeal, so the UK public and businesses can donate tech to the cause at www.vodafone.co.uk/techappeal .
This follows Vodafone’s recent announcement that it is offering free connectivity to 200,000 refugees arriving in the UK from Ukraine through its everyone connected programme.
Refugee Council is one of the leading charities working with refugees and those seeking asylum in the UK. It provides resettlement and integration services, such as help with securing accommodation, finding English lessons, registering for a GP or opening a bank account. Importantly, it also provides therapy to help address the trauma and mental health issues facing adults and children as they arrive in the UK as refugees. It supports around 14,000 displaced men, women and children every year.
Ahmed Essam, CEO, Vodafone UK, said: “We are doing what we can to support those fleeing Ukraine, with a focus on keeping people connected. I’m pleased to be working with Refugee Council to provide free smartphones, tablets and connectivity to help people access vital support services and stay in touch with friends and family. We hope this will help make arriving in the UK a little easier.”
“I urge anyone with an unwanted smartphone or tablet to donate it to our Tech Appeal, so that, together with Refugee Council, we can get it to someone who needs it.”
Tamsin Baxter, Executive Director of Fund Raising and External Affairs, Refugee Council, said: “We are working hard to prepare for the arrival of refugees from Ukraine and are ready to help them recover and rebuild their lives after the trauma they’ve faced. It’s brilliant to see companies like Vodafone supporting our work. When you have lost so much, connectivity to those you love is invaluable; these phones could make the difference between speaking to a husband, children or parents who have been left behind, or not. That is absolutely a lifeline.”
Vodafone is offering its customers free mobile calls and texts to Ukraine and is waiving charges for customers within the country; and is match-funding donations to the DEC Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal through the British Red Cross. It is also offering fast track access to employment opportunities to suitably qualified candidates from Ukraine subject to visa requirements. And Vodafone Foundation Instant Networks Teams are on the ground in Romania and Hungary installing Instant WiFi and charging points in refugee centres to help people stay in touch with family and friends.