Refugees United

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Refugees United
Type International non-governmental organization (NGO). Registered as a 501 (c)(3)non-profit organization in the United States
Founded Copenhagen, Denmark 2008
Founders Christopher Mikkelsen & David Mikkelsen
Headquarters Copenhagen, Denmark (HQ). Nairobi, Kenya. New York, USA.

Refugees United (also is an independent, international non-governmental organization (NGO). It is registered as a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization in the United States. Refugees United works with family tracing and targets refugees and others who have been separated from loved ones due to war and conflict. Refugees United was founded in Denmark in 2008 and aims to streamline the process of family tracing by providing a free, online tool, which can be used by both individuals and NGOs. Refugees United partners with the United Nations Refugee Agency, UNHCR[1] and the Kenyan Red Cross Society amongst others.[2]


Refugees United was founded in 2008 by the two Danish brothers, David and Christopher Mikkelsen. The two brothers had discovered that existing family tracing programs were lacking in using collaborative technology while helping a young Afghan boy help find his missing brother. Paper forms completed in pencil meant little information was shared across agencies, across borders or across conflicts. They launched Refugees United in response to this problem.[3]

The tool[edit]

Refugees United’s family tracing system consists of an online and a mobile platform. Here refugees can register either via the web or mobile phones with nicknames, scars, locations and other markers only known and identifiable to closest family members and friends. [4] All refugees, IDPs (internally displaced persons), stateless people or other people of concern are welcome, regardless of conflict, place or time. Refugees United does not however assist with physical reunifications.[5] The service is available in multiple languages, the service is free of charge and there is no government or other authority involved. The languages the service is available in are Arabic, English, French, Portuguese, Somali, Spanish and Swahili. It is entirely up to the individual wishing to search for his or her family to decide how much - or little - information to disclose on their profile. Everyone has the possibility to register with a large variety of personal markers which will only be known to family and close friends, if an individual refugee feels unsafe to reveal their full name or location.[6] Particular emphasis is placed on the security aspects of the Refugees United server. The application runs on dedicated, secured servers placed behind top level firewalls. These servers can only be serviced using a secured protocol narrowed down by specific IP addresses. The server containing the database is not connected to the Internet and only certified personnel have access to it for maximum security. All servers and systems are SSL encrypted. All traffic log files are deleted for security reasons.

Mission statement[edit]

According to Refugees United’s website ( their mission statement is as follows:

“Every day, families are torn apart in their escape from war, persecution or natural disasters. All too often they end up in different parts of the world, afraid, alienated and alone. Refugees United is a fully independent 501(c)(3) non-profit organization working to provide refugee families with a global, anonymous and user-driven tracing system to help them reconnect with missing loved ones. Refugees can register on the Refugees United search site using information such as nicknames, scars, former locations and the like that is recognisable only to family and close friends. No third party is involved in Refugees United, either in the organisation or the running and supervision of the search tool.” [7]

Corporate Sponsors and Funders[edit]

Current Operations[edit]

Apart from the tool available online, Refugees United also have on the ground operations in partnership with other NGOs. Currently Refugees United has operations in the following locations:

  • Dadaab Refugee Camp, Kenya in partnership with Kenyan Red Cross Society
  • Kakuma Refugee Camp, Kenya in partnership with Kenyan Red Cross Society
  • Nairobi, Kenya in partnership with Kenyan Red Cross Society
  • Cairo, Egypt in partnership with Tadamon
  • Somalia, in partnership with Intersos


External links[edit]