Communication for Survival
For most of us living in the west, smartphones and tablets are often used for keeping us connected to our friends, family and even work. Many people use it for playing some online games or reading books. While thinking about refugees crossing thousands of miles through the sea, the mountains and many borders its different story, Smartphone’s and connection to the internet is the most valuable survival tool. It can be more valuable than food and clothes sometimes.
It’s the only way to survive, find the path to safety and to reach the final destination in northern Europe, without it they might lose their way or go into longer root, without it they might lose contact with family members or best friends, they might even end up in the hand of the worst possible situation, in the hands of the traffickers that are willing to do anything for money.
How does it work? Where do they seek the information?
The answer might be surprising but it’s the most obvious answer, Social Media and mobile’s applications, such as Facebook, WhatsApp, Google maps and some others.
Many people before they hit the road, they start what can be called the planning phase, looking and digging deep in the different Facebook pages and sometimes information available on some WhatsApp groups trying to find the means and the needs to start the journey, this information can be the cost, the communication channels with the smugglers, the timing and best ways to take, risks and possibilities, all these are considered as basic information before starting the journey. For most of the refugees, it’s a survival journey, running from imminent risk to what can be the death road for some. And the only way to make it is by following some information available on social media, in many cases the information can be misleading, unverified or not accurate circulated by smugglers, however, for many, it’s the only way.
Survival and guidance networks “real partnership”
Smartphones are an essential tool to join the club and become part of the network, as all information is available online and you need a key to open the door and this key is the Smartphone and tablets sometimes. What does it mean for those people to be connected to the survival online communities?
It’s no doubt the most valuable product of our times is ” information”. It’s what they are looking for, information such as crossing points, updates regarding border policies in the Balkan corridor, contacts for available shelter, food and clothes distribution and of course free WIFI to connect to the internet.
Many people made it to the final destination in one of the northern European countries, this does not mean that they are out, they still share information about the country they live in, they tell their own stories and experiences, they share information about legal issues in their final distention country, they even tell what is considered a good story to tell the migration’s officers and the best way to approach the migrations departement or the police of a given country.