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Supporting refugees and displaced people on World Refugee Day

June 20th, 2020

More than 79 million were displaced at the end of last year as a result of persecution, conflict, violence or human rights violations—29 million of which were refugees.

Since 2015, we’ve given more than $30 million in Google.org grants to help provide emergency support and access to vital information and educational resources to more than one million refugees. Today, on World Refugee Day, we’re renewing our commitment to work together with nonprofits and find more long-term solutions. We’re supporting the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) with $550,000 Google.org and YouTube grants to provide refugees with necessary materials to endure the pandemic, digital skills training series and updates to Google Search in affected countries so people have access to reliable information at all times.

The global pandemic knows no borders and is affecting everyone—including refugees. Already, YouTube has donated $250,000 to UNHCR to help provide life-saving support, including water, medical care, and hygiene materials to refugees and the communities who host them in affected countries.

Equipping refugees with digital skills for future opportunities

Refugees and internally displaced people around the world are facing job losses due to the pandemic’s restrictions. According to UNHCR, 47 percent of the refugee population in 2019 was between the ages 18 and 59 , and the unemployment rate in this demographic is expected to rise.

We’re announcing a $300,000 Google.org grant to help UNHCR further prepare refugees for the changing nature of work. The organization will host online training to help refugees and host community members in the MENA region including Algeria and Morocco learn digital skills throughout the course of a year.

Surfacing reliable information to refugees on Google Search

Often refugees struggle to access timely, trusted and accurate information on the web. Using Google Trends and UNHCR’s internal insights, we’ve identified the most common refugee related questions. Then we helped UNHCR navigate our developer platform to provide refugees with authoritative answers clearly displayed on Google Search to questions like “What happens during the Refugee Status Determination interview?” and “How to qualify for cash assistance?”

Supporting refugees and displaced people on World Refugee Day
 The new feature presents structured answers to refugee-related questions on Search.
Supporting refugees and displaced people on World Refugee Day
An example of a search query in Arabic with authoritative answers from UNHCR.

These results are already available in Arabic, English, Turkish, and Farsi, to help refugees who are staying in Lebanon, Jordan, and Turkey. These countries represent the highest number of refugees per capita in the world.

The number of people forcibly displaced remains at a record high and the effects of the crisis will go on for years. Nonprofits working alongside these affected communities need our help, and we’ll continue to support them through immediate relief and long-term recovery.

For World Refugee Day 2020, we celebrate the refugees fighting on the frontlines of this pandemic, alongside their hosts and the aid workers supporting them.