Refugees United - To Connect the Unconnected

25/09/2012 14:11 BST | Updated 23/11/2012 10:12 GMT

It's a stunning New York September day. From our 18th storey hotel room, we stare right into the waterfalls of the 9/11 memorial site, with the words 'freedom' and 'remembrance' reminding us all of the tragedy that happened here 11 years ago.

My brother - and co-founder of Refugees Reunited - David and I are in New York to tell the world of another unfolding tragedy, repeated every day across vast parts of our shared world: The fact that hundreds of thousands of refugee families have become, and are still becoming, separated during their escape from conflict, hunger and drought.

Refugees United was formed some years ago in a response to the fact that no refugee agency had created a centralized communications platform to collect and distribute information on separated families. In effect, this meant that information captured on a separated family by agency X remained with agency X, lessening the chances of reconnections quite dramatically.

Moreover, we recognised the need to include the displaced persons themselves in the process, granting them access to information and empowering them to partake in the solving of their own problems, by providing a platform that taps into technology available in even the remotest of refugee camps: the mobile phone.

We're off now to address the Clinton Global Initiative and the Mashable Social Summit, to tell our story. It'll be tremendously interesting days, highlighting our work, and focusing on the people whom it's all about: the refugees.

Over the course of the next posts here, we'll write about how Refugees United was started, how it now connects organizations and refugees across borders, conflicts and camps, and how we're currently helping more than 173.000 refugees in their search for missing loved ones.

Welcome to our blog, and thank you for taking your time to read about our efforts to seek not a status quo in helping separated refugee families, but to try to end the problem altogether.