Giulia Balestra
Posted by Giulia Balestra
Apr 4 18
After Years Apart Mother And Son Reconnect Across Continents
After Years Apart Mother And Son Reconnect Across Continents Tino* was born in 1992 in Kisangani, in the north-eastern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Tino and his five siblings had a happy childhood and close-knit family. When Tino was 16, his parents divorced and his father moved to Goma in North Kivu with the children. In eastern Congo this was a time of turmoil and violence. In 2013 conflict broke out and Tino fled to neighbouring Uganda. He lost contact with his siblings and with his mother Nadine*. Years passed. Nadine was now working in Kinshasa and she met a French man to whom she got married. In 2014 they both moved to France. In her newly opened hair salon, Nadine had the photo of her family back in Kisangani. She could not stop thinking about her children and was running out of ways to search for…
Share:
Learn more...
Giulia Balestra
Posted by Giulia Balestra
Mar 27 18
Bonheur And Mireille: Hope And Connection After Ten Years Apart
Bonheur And Mireille: Hope And Connection After Ten Years Apart   Bonheur was born in a refugee camp. Before the war, his parents lived in Sud-Kivu, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. In 1998, unrest and violence forced them from their home. They crossed lake Tanganyika on a boat and fled to Lugufu refugee camp in western Tanzania. This was the place where Bonheur was born. By the time Bonheur was starting school, the situation in eastern Congo had seemingly gone back to normal. Bonheur’s parents decided to return to South-Kivu and be closer to the rest of the family. In their hometown of Baraka, Bonheur grew up surrounded by the love of his parents, his aunt Merveille and uncle Emmanuel. However, growing insecurity in eastern Congo displaced many families again. When Bonheur’s father was killed in 2008, Bonheur, Merveille, and Emmanuel ran away. They ran in all directions. They…
Share:
Learn more...
Giulia Balestra
Posted by Giulia Balestra
Mar 13 18
Marie And Pauline: Congolese Sisters Reconnected After Years Of Separation
Marie And Pauline: Congolese Sisters Reconnected After Years Of Separation Marie grew up in Goma, North Kivu, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), surrounded by her nine siblings. She remembers the day when her youngest sister, Pauline, moved to Canada with her husband. Pauline had the chance to start afresh in a new country, different and far away from her own. Pauline missed her family and treasured the long phone calls with her sister Marie, during which the two sisters talked about their respective lives, their daily hardships, and their dreams and hopes for the future. In 2012, armed forces took over their hometown of Goma and the family got scattered. Marie was left with nothing. It was hard to believe that in only one day she had lost everything: her home, her belongings, her family. Marie found refuge in Kampala, Uganda, where she learned that the rest of the…
Share:
Learn more...
Giulia Balestra
Posted by Giulia Balestra
Mar 13 18
Maman Grace And Théo: Finding Each Other After Ten Years Apart
Maman Grace And Théo: Finding Each Other After Ten Years Apart   Théo was a bright child and gifted football player with big dreams and ambitions for the future. He was 8 years old when he left his hometown in the South Kivu province of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). It was 1996 and generalized political unrest forced many families to leave the country. Théo, his mother, and his two older sisters crossed the Tanzanian border to find refuge in Nyarugusu refugee camp, home to over 150,000 forcibly displaced people. For the family life in Nyarugusu was not easy, but for some time it felt safe, or safer, than home. Théo was not a common child and his talents did not go unnoticed. After several threats and a poisoning attempt, in 2008 Théo decided to leave the camp. The first place he went to was the port city of Mwanza,…
Share:
Learn more...
Giulia Balestra
Posted by Giulia Balestra
Mar 7 18
REFUNITE Joins Danish Delegation’s Visit to Kalobeyei and Kakuma, Kenya
REFUNITE Joins Joins Danish Delegation’s Visit to Kalobeyei and Kakuma, Kenya   Nairobi, Kenya – On March 6th, REFUNITE had the opportunity to meet the Minister for Development Cooperation of Denmark, Ulla Tørnæs, and join a Danish Delegation during their visit to Kalobeyei settlement and Kakuma refugee camp in North-Western Kenya. The purpose of the visit was to learn about technology and development in Kenya and the existing initiatives and solutions in the ecosystem. REFUNITE’s team was honored to meet the Minister and discuss how technology can help to bring refugees families together. The Minister also talked to refugee families reunited through the REFUNITE family tracing platform to learn more about their past experiences and hopes for the future. During the visit, the Minister announced that the Danish Embassy in Nairobi will recruit a regional tech advisor to support the Danish tech ambassador and Danish initiatives on technology and development.…
Share:
Learn more...
Giulia Balestra
Posted by Giulia Balestra
Mar 6 18
REFUNITE Joins Roundtable on Technology and Development
REFUNITE Joins Roundtable on Technology and Development   Nairobi, Kenya – On Monday March 5th, REFUNITE joined a roundtable discussion on Technology and Development at Nairobi Garage, Africa’s largest co-working space. The event was hosted by Unumed, a software company specialized in IT solutions for healthcare facilities. The roundtable had as honorable guests the Minister for Development Cooperation of Denmark, Ulla Tørnæs, and  H.E. The Danish Ambassador of Kenya, Mette Knudsen. Startups, humanitarian agencies and tech companies gathered to discuss the dynamics between technology, development, and humanitarian aid in Kenya’s ‘Silicon Savannah’, and across East Africa.   During the visit, the Minister announced that the Danish Embassy in Nairobi will recruit a regional tech advisor to support the Danish tech ambassador and Danish initiatives on technology and development. Stay posted for more details!   6th March, 2018.
Share:
Learn more...
Giulia Balestra
Posted by Giulia Balestra
Mar 1 18
“I am not alone anymore and I am full of hope”
“I am not alone anymore and I am full of hope”   Afshan Bibi*, 67, is a refugee from Afghanistan. For the past 19 years she has been living in a refugee camp in Islamabad, Pakistan. She is one of the many refugees who are facing hardships, separation and loss of loved ones in the country. Afshan has been separated from her son, Farjaad*, since 2008. Farjaad worked as a laborer at the local vegetable market in Islamabad. He was 16 the last time Afshan saw him. On a hot summer morning he left the refugee camp and set out for work but did not return home at his usual time. As dinner time neared, Afshan started worrying and with the hours passing her sorrow grew stronger and stronger. “As morning dawned, I couldn’t sit at home anymore. I asked around the camp hoping someone had seen him” recounts Afshan.…
Share:
Learn more...
Giulia Balestra
Posted by Giulia Balestra
Feb 3 18
WEF 2018: News From Davos
World Economic Forum 2018: News From Davos   23-26 January 2018 – The 48th World Economic Forum Annual Meeting just ended in Davos, Switzerland. The Forum brought together over 3,000 leaders from government, business, civil society and academia. This year the conversation and programme were focused on “Creating a Shared Future in a Fractured World”. REFUNITE Co-Founder and Co-CEO Christopher Mikkelsen was in Davos to take part in panel discussions and high-level events, taking the opportunity to discuss REFUNITE’s mission and how the organization is creating digital bridges to reconnect separated families, thus contributing to a more connected future in divided societies.   1st February, 2018. 
Share:
Learn more...
Giulia Balestra
Posted by Giulia Balestra
Feb 2 18
REFUNITE Featured On The New York Times
REFUNITE Featured On The New York Times   “Is the business world all about greed?”. On January 25th 2018, Nicholas Kristof of The New York Times addresses the question and features REFUNITE’s Co-Founder and Co-CEO Christopher Mikkelsen in his Opinion Column. Read it here!   2nd February, 2018. 
Share:
Learn more...
Giulia Balestra
Posted by Giulia Balestra
Dec 20 17
My Message To Displaced And Separated Families
My Message To Displaced And Separated Families   “I think about the nights I spent hiding under trees, escaping bullets, bombs, and militia kidnapping the youth for forced military service. I was a teenager then. Part of me will always connect to the fears of refugees and the uncertainty they find themselves in. During yearly holidays like these, being a refugee or a war displaced person means celebrating the fact that you survived to see another year end or begin. That’s right! For some however, this also means being forced to celebrate far from your loved ones; or even without knowing if they are still alive and safe. In 2017, with the support of REFUNITE, I was able to reconnect with my family after years. Today I know where my family is and, while they are still far away, I am hopeful again. This message of hope is what I want to share…
Share:
Learn more...

DONATE
Hundreds of families are reconnected through our work every month, often after years of searching for their missing loved ones.
Any donation will help separated families reconnect.