Connecting to the world through the internet
The internet is the only way 20 year old Ibrahim Suleiman can connect with his family members and friends who live in the other parts of the world.
Ibrahim has lived in Addis Ababa with his brother for the past 2 years with no sufficient income other than money sent from abroad and the 100 birr pocket money he gets every month from Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) in Addis Ababa.
NRC started implementing livelihood projects for urban refugees in Ethiopia in 2014 after securing funds from the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. One of the projects that NRC has helped establish is the internet centre that is helping urban refugees like Ibrahim stay in touch with family and friends. It is open on weekdays, and is equipped with 16 computers that are connected to internet.
The centre was officially handed over to JRS in the presence of representatives from the Ethiopian Administration for Refugees and Returnees Affair (ARRA), The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and NRC. At the handover ceremony, Mr. Ayalew Aweke, Deputy Director of ARRA praised the project, saying “I admire what JRS is doing for the refugees through language classes, computer skill training, and library service. It is good that NRC started this new project to assist urban refugees."
Deputy Representative of UNHCR, Mr. Bornwell Kantande pointed out that life is harder in cities, as refugees do not receive food and they are not provided with shelter like in refugee camps.
“I request that the Government and other partners to work together to provide better service. Hosting refugees should not be a burden to certain organisations. We should all share the burden to ease the challenges refugees face like we do in the camps,” he said.
The internet centre is part of a larger resource centre for refugees. The resource centre, which is also supported by NRC, will be a place where refugees seek for information regarding facilities they can use while in the city. The centre’s library is used by refugees and host community members that live nearby.
Ibrahim and other urban refugees in Addis Ababa are enjoying the weekdays with the free internet service. “It gives me a reason to wake up in the morning and got to the centre because that is where I find a way to connect with the people I love and one day wish to be with, my family and friends,“ Ibrahim says.