Living in a refugee camp

Sarah Eberspacher Three years ago this week, Syria began to be torn apart. Syrians took to the streets, demanding democratic and economic reforms from the government of Bashar al-Assad.

Living in a refugee camp

Instead he lifts his head to a black box and gazes into the mirror and camera at its center. By letting a machine scan his iris, he confirmed his identity on a traditional United Nations database, queried a family account kept on a variant of the Ethereum blockchain by the World Food Programme WFPand settled his bill without opening his wallet.

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Started in earlyBuilding Blocks, as the program is known, helps the WFP distribute cash-for-food aid to overSyrian refugees in Jordan. By the end of this year, the program will cover allrefugees in the country.

If the project succeeds, it could eventually speed the adoption of blockchain technologies at sister UN agencies and beyond. Right A mural at the Zaatari camp. Building Blocks was born of a need to save money. This approach could feed more people, improve local economies, and increase transparency.

But it also introduces a notable point of inefficiency: Early results of the blockchain program touted a 98 percent reduction in such fees. And if the man behind the project, WFP executive Houman Haddad, has his way, the blockchain-based program will do far more than save money.

It will tackle a central Living in a refugee camp in any humanitarian crisis: Owning your identity Haddad imagines Bassam one day walking out of Zaatari with a so-called digital wallet, filled with his camp transaction history, his government ID, and access to financial accounts, all linked through a blockchain-based identity system.

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With such a wallet, when Bassam left the camp he could much more easily enter the world economy. He would have a place for an employer to deposit his pay, for a mainstream bank to see his credit history, and for a border or immigration agent to check his identity, which would be attested to by the UN, the Jordanian government, and possibly even his neighbors.

Such a record, perhaps stored on a mobile phone, could let someone like Bassam take his data from Syria to Jordan and beyond, backed up online in encrypted form. Syrian refugees using such a system—and most in Zaatari already have smartphones—could regain legal identities that were lost along with their documents and assets when they fled their homes.

In this scenario, Bassam could move—to Germany, or back to Syria—and easily prove his educational credentials, demonstrate his relationship to his children, and get a loan to start a business.

Zaatari is a bustling city that sprang into existence as a tidal bore of humanity crashed over the Syrian border in Nearly 75, Syrians live in the sprawling camp, including many children and young adults. If such a system had existed before Bassam left his hometown of Daraa, he might have avoided Zaatari altogether and become a productive member of Jordanian society straight away.

Even if Syria revoked his passport, or if a school with a record of his degrees were bombed, an immutable register of his history could still smooth his entry into an adopted country.

Living in a refugee camp

A number of organizations are already working on aspects of this idea. In Finland, a blockchain startup called MONI has collaborated since with the Finnish Immigration Service, giving every refugee in the country a prepaid MasterCard—backed by a digital identity number stored on a blockchain.

Even without the passport necessary to open a Finnish bank account, a MONI account lets refugees receive benefits directly from the government. The system also allows refugees to get loans from people who know and trust them, helping them build rudimentary credit histories that could make it possible to get institutional loans down the road.

Meanwhile, companies like Accenture and Microsoft are joining nonprofit organizations in a public-private alliance called IDFeb 16,  · The longer a refugee resides in a camp, the harder it can become to sustain psychological well-being.

But camps remain the default solution. “Refugee camps have become the mechanism to try to control people,” Fabos says. “They prevent them from interacting with your citizenry. Heinous Massacres Against Congolese Tutsi (Banyamulenge) on August 13, at Gatumba Refugee Camp in Burundi.

About Refugee. Three young people are looking for refuge, a place for themselves and their families to live in peace. Separated by decades in time and by oceans in geography, their stories share similar emotional traumas and desperate situations and, at the end, connect in astounding ways.

Apr 28,  · AM PT -- The party's officially over. Festival organizers just announced "Due to circumstances beyond our control, we must postpone this experience. From the world's largest refugee camp in Kenya to Za'atari in Jordan, which struggles to house tens of thousands of refugees fleeing Syria, life inside the camps is something alien to most Australians.

Take a . This figure includes 2 million Syrians registered by UNHCR in Egypt, Iraq, Jordan and Lebanon, million Syrians registered by the Government of Turkey, as well as more than 33, Syrian refugees registered in North Africa.

Inside the Jordan refugee camp that runs on blockchain - MIT Technology Review