Beirut – MENA Herald: We are facing the largest refugee crisis since World War II. Last September, we asked ourselves if we could play a unique role in supporting organizations on the ground, and we invited people around the world to help us respond — with Google.org matching every dollar. Since that time, Google.org has committed over $16.5 million to refugee relief efforts, focused on immediate humanitarian assitance, information and connectivity, and education.

To put the crisis in context, more than half of global refugees are under the age of eighteen, and in Lebanon, which is hosting the largest number of Syrian refugees per capita in the world, nearly half of those are Syrian refugee children are currently out of school. Today, we’re supporting the Clooney Foundation for Justice with a $1 million grant focused on education for refugee children in Lebanon.

Clooney Foundation for Justice Grant
The Clooney Foundation for Justice is teaming up with SABIS, a global education network that has already taught thousands of refugee children in Lebanon. SABIS is taking its accredited teaching methodology and making it accessible to refugees in Lebanon by setting up semi-permanent schools in areas with a high concentration of refugee children. This grant will support expanding their efforts to develop a new primary school model, using digital tools, for up to 10,000 out-of-school children in Lebanon. Through our employee volunteering program, we will also provide technical expertise to help with everything from connectivity to cloud storage by having Googlers helping both on the ground and remotely.

Today’s grant builds on our work with organizations who also support refugees in Germany, France, Turkey and Greece with access to education and learning opportunities.

One year of refugee relief

Immediate Humanitarian Aid
In just over 48 hours, last fall’s campaign raised $11 million to deliver essential assistance, including food, water, shelter, medical care and security, to people in need by supporting Doctors without Borders, International Rescue Committee, Save the Children and UNHCR. In addition to those efforts, we supporting organizations working on developing solutions for connectivity and access to information and education. Collectively, these efforts will help more than 1 million refugees get connectivity, access to vital information online, and educational opportunities.

Information and Connectivity
In October 2015, we granted NetHope $900,000, and our employees from around the world helped set up WiFi hot spots and charging kits at key transit points along the refugee route in Europe. So far, more than 300,000 refugees have been able to access NetHope’s WiFi to access vital information. Googlers also helped build the site, RefugeeInfo.eu with the International Rescue Committee, Mercy Corps, and others, that is now accessible in 18 locations in Greece, Italy, Germany, Slovenia, Croatia and Serbia and is being used more than 1000 times a day.

We’re also working to help refugees in the United States get mobile connectivity by partnering with the International Rescue Committee to donate 1,000 Nexus devices and Project Fi wireless service to refugees living in 24 cities across the country.
Education
In January, Google.org supported the organization NetHope with a $5.3 million grant to launch “Project Reconnect” — and effort to to equip German NGOs with 25,000 Chromebooks that help refugees learn more about local languages, resources, and job opportunities, and to date, over half of them have been delivered and used by nonprofits in Germany. Last year, we also gave a grant to Libraries without Borders to send their Ideas Boxes to create safe learning and playing spaces for children in refugee camps. These Ideas boxes have been visited thousands of times in camps from Lesbos and Athens in Greece to the refugee camp of Grande Synthe in France and in Duesseldorf, Germany.

A White House Call to Action

In June of this year, we signed on as a founding partner of the White House’s Private Sector Call to Action for Refugees, an effort by the administration to bring together a cross-section of businesses to help make significant commitments that will have a measurable impact on refugees both in the United States and around the world. We’re participating in the conversation at the White House Summit on Refugees today in New York, and will continue to build on our efforts to date.