Refugees United

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Refugees United Logo.jpg
Founded 2008
Founders Christopher Mikkelsen & David Mikkelsen
Type Refugees United is a 501(c)(3) non-profit working to provide refugee families that have lost contact with each other during escape from conflict with an anonymous platform to reconnect.
Purpose Humanitarian
Mission "To help refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) reconnect with lost loved ones"

Refugees United is a non-profit technology based organization established by two Danish brothers, David and Christopher Mikkelsen with the stated mission to “help refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) search for their missing loved ones.” It focuses on online and mobile solutions to help families reconnect.

The organization works through partnerships with like-minded individuals, organizations, corporations, and humanitarian agencies. The headquarters are located in Copenhagen, Denmark and a technology development lab in Nairobi, Kenya.


REFUNITE was founded in 2008 by two Danish brothers, David and Christopher Mikkelsen, after their personal journey trying to reconnect a young, Afghan refugee with his family. In their search, the two brothers discovered that existing family tracing programs lacked cross-border, collaborative technology and the process of family tracing was also often tied to cumbersome procedures and paperwork.

Family Reconnection Services[edit]


The family reconnection platform can be accessed through the official website with the search tool available in seven languages: Somali, French, Swahili, English, Amharic, Arabic and Sudanese Arabic.


REFUNITE has developed a mobile search tool that is accessible using an entry-level mobile phone. This tool is currently available in Kenya and Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Call Centre[edit]

REFUNITE has helplines in Kenya, Turkey, Somalia, Uganda and DRC, and runs a multilingual call center in Nairobi, Kenya.

Data collection[edit]

Users provide information that only they themselves find safe enough to share, which gives them the option of staying anonymous. They can choose to register with personal information that only their family or closest friends would recognize, e.g. birthmarks, favorite foods, or person specific information.


REFUNITE has outreach volunteers in Kampala, Uganda and refugee camps in Dadaab and Kakuma in Kenya.

Films by REFUNITE[edit]

Lost and Found - The Story of Refugees United[1]
Created with MediaStorm

Estelle's Story[2]
Created with Ericsson and House of Radon


  • 2013 Prix Ars Electronica

Award of Distinction in the category Digital Communities[3]

  • 2013 Lovie Award

Lost and Found - The Story of Refugees United[4]

  • 2012 Webby Award Winner

Lost and Found - The Story of Refugees United[5]


REFUNITE’s corporate partners include mobile network operators, which enables the organization to communicate directly with refugees and send text messages to their phones. The operators include:

  • Ericsson[6]
  • Safaricom in Kenya
  • Vodacom DRC in Democratic Republic of the Congo
  • Telesom in Somaliland
  • Avea in Turkey
  • Asiacell in Iraq
  • Zain Group in Jordan and South Sudan
  • Smart Communications in the Philippines

REFUNITE also partners with the UN Refugee Agency, UNHCR and other humanitarian organizations. It is funded by the IKEA Foundation.


  1. ^ "Lost and Found: The Story of Refugees United". MediaStorm. Retrieved 2 December 2014. 
  2. ^ "Estelle's Story". YouTube. Retrieved 2 December 2014. 
  3. ^ "Winners Prix Ars Electronica 2013". Ars Electronica Blog. Retrieved 2 December 2014. 
  4. ^ "Refugees United Receives a Lovie Award". Refunite Blog. Retrieved 2 December 2014. 
  5. ^ "Lost and Found – The story of Refugees United". Retrieved 2 December 2014. 
  6. ^ "In-kind donations". Retrieved 2 December 2014. 

External links[edit]