Having reliable, practical and up-to-date information can make all the difference for refugees and migrants as they are making their way and transiting through Europe, a journey that is often fraught with peril.

That’s why the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent (IFRC) with the help of IBM recently designed and launched an online tool called Virtual Volunteer to help provide information to people who are in transit.

“Too often, people on the move can only count on information they receive from unreliable sources, like friends and social media, but also including traffickers and smugglers who target and exploit the most vulnerable people,” explains Miguel Angel Barba Lopez, Red Cross Community Engagement and Accountability delegate in Greece.

Virtual Volunteer, an app to aid people in transit
The Virtual Volunteer website and app is universally accessible through any connected device and designed for use in low bandwidth settings. It’s currently being piloted in Greece, and will soon be adapted for use in other countries.

It provides people with relevant information such as where to find Red Cross services, refugee camps, medical care, basic support services such as showers and food, how to apply for international protection, tips to keep their family safe, and much more.

The Virtual Volunteer utilizes symbols and translates common phrases in different languages to help bridge the gap.