Connecting a mobile library for refugees in Greece
In 2017, ECHO Refugee Library in Thessaloniki received the very first Big Box Wi-Fi system .
At the time, they were operating a van that served the many places where refugees were housed in Thessaloniki from camps to inner-city shelters, providing refugees with a peaceful learning space, education materials and books – and once their Big Box was up and running, Wi-Fi.
‘After months of struggling with pocket Wi-Fi devices and spotty signal, a huge impediment to offering access to online resources, our mobile library has been revolutionised!’ – the ECHO Refugee Library team.
Many refugees waiting to have their asylum claims processed face a long and uncertain wait, and the libraries ensure that the task of ‘passing time’ becomes that of ‘using time’. The library spaces provide access to online learning and information on educational opportunities, language learning resources, advice on university and job application processes and a space for community-led creative workshops.
The ECHO team has since relocated to Athens, where Big Box is still in use as they work alongside Onestop, a small pop up centre for homeless people where they serve food and tea and provide laundry and other essential facilities.
Organisation: ECHO Refugee Library
Location: Thessaloniki and Athens, Greece
Users to date: 574
Deployment date: 2017