Students’ talk technology with Refuge Fife charity

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An event in Kirkcaldy held by charity group Refuge Fife not only looked at the current situation for refugees across Europe and the causes of the crisis, but also gave a fascinating insight into the role technology plays in the lives of refugees.

The evening at the Old Kirk last Thursday was billed as an evening of discussion about war and refugees, and included speakers Pete Cannell from Stop the War and Jan McCall from Edinburgh charity ReAct.

However, it was the third talk of the evening, delivered by two young students from Edinburgh University, that most audience members were chatting about afterwards over the buffet supper.

Alexandros Angelopoulos and Sam Kellerhals have designed and produced solar-powered phone charging units for use in refugee camps, to allow those fleeing the war in Syria to contact their loved ones back home.

The environmental science students spent last summer in Greece installing the units at several refugee camps across the country.

Alex, who is Greek, and Sam, who is from Switzerland, said they were inspired to act after seeing pictures of refugees attempt to charge their phones by connecting them to wires in street lights, putting themselves and others in danger of electrocution.

Event host, Cllr Marie Penman, from Refuge Fife was very impressed.

“We’ve always focused on getting clothes, food and shelter for refugees, without thinking about how sad they must be about family members they have left behind.

“These young students have come up with a simple and ingenious solution to help people communicate. We were delighted they could join us for our event.”

The group also held a successful donations day in the Church of the Latter Day Saints where hundreds of bags were handed in.