The UPS Foundation Provides High-Impact Support to Tech Nonprofits Responding to the Refugee Crisis - Fast Forward

November 21, 2022 | Tech Nonprofits

The UPS Foundation Provides High-Impact Support to Tech Nonprofits Responding to the Refugee Crisis

As of 2022, 100 million individuals have been forcibly displaced worldwide – and this number is only predicted to grow. From translation assistance to legal advice to healthcare, refugees need support. That’s where tech nonprofits come in. We’re thrilled to partner with The UPS Foundation to support tech nonprofits providing critical services to refugees.

“The UPS Foundation is proud to partner with Fast Forward to help us reach our goal to positively impact 1 Billion lives by 2040,” said Nicolò Sgreva, Europe Community Relations Director, The UPS Foundation. “By teaming up to support HERA, Refunite, and Tarjimly, we’ll not only provide access to essential services to refugees in Europe and around the globe, but also scale these organizations’ impact.” 

Fast Forward is teaming up with The UPS Foundation to support tech nonprofits HERA, REFUNITE, and Tarjimly. Together, we’ll help them scale their solutions to more refugees in need. Curious how these organizations are making a difference across the globe? Read on.

“By teaming up with Fast Forward to support HERA, Refunite, and Tarjimly, The UPS Foundation will not only provide access to essential services to refugees in Europe and around the globe, but also scale these organizations’ impact.”

Nicolò Sgreva, Europe Community Relations Director, The UPS Foundation


Turkey is home to nearly 3.8 million refugees, the largest refugee population worldwide. The majority do not have access to critical health services like vaccinations, prenatal care, and newborn care. HERA is filling this gap. The open-source mobile health platform connects refugee mothers and children with essential preventative healthcare. HERA was founded by Dr. Aral Sürmeli, an expert in migratory healthcare who has experience working with refugee populations.

Currently available in Turkey, HERA’s mission is to make healthcare easy and accessible to low-tech users. Its mobile app sends users healthcare appointment reminders, provides critical health information, enables them to contact emergency services, and more. The app is currently available in Arabic, Turkish, English, and Dari.

As a first step in its vision, HERA is focused on increasing the rate of prenatal care and childhood vaccinations among Syrian refugees in Turkey. To date, over 4,000 refugee mothers and children in Turkey have accessed vital healthcare through HERA’s app. And it’s not stopping there. HERA has plans to expand its services to displaced communities worldwide, empowering refugees and providing healthcare that saves lives.


In their escape from disasters, persecutions, or conflicts, many displaced people lose contact with family members and friends. All too often, loved ones end up in different parts of the world, alone and in a new environment. Enter: REFUNITE. Founded by brothers Chris and David Mikkelsen, REFUNITE’s tools enable people around the world to search for missing loved ones using their smartphone or computer. 

With over 1M registered users and available in 17 countries, REFUNITE is the world’s largest missing persons discovery platform for refugees and displaced populations. Its core belief is that everyone has the right to know where their family is. Through long-standing partnerships with Ericsson, various mobile network operators, and the United Nations, REFUNITE has established itself as a key collaborator in addressing the pervasive problem of family separation among forcibly displaced populations.

REFUNITE’s digital tools help refugees and displaced people search for missing loved ones | REFUNITE

REFUNITE has made a notable impact so far: 65,000 families have been reconnected through its platform. By empowering refugees to search for missing loved ones themselves, REFUNITE is reimagining family tracing.


Millions of refugees struggle with language barriers in their new home. Atif Javed, who grew up serving as an interpreter for his own refugee and immigrant family, is on a mission to expand access to language support for refugees. So he built Tarjimly, a machine learning-powered app that provides refugees with on-demand language support and translation services.

Through Tarjimly, refugees can connect with a translator on-demand | Tarjimly

Through the app, displaced people connect with one of Tarjimly’s 24,000 volunteers, who use their language skills to provide on-demand translation. When a refugee, asylum seeker, or humanitarian worker requests a translator for a particular language, Tarjimly’s machine learning matching algorithm selects the best translator available. This person is then connected in a live chat with the person in need, where they can send text, photos, or start a phone or video call. Tarjimly volunteers have provided translation services during critical moments like emergency medical services, asylum interviews, trauma counseling, rescue operations, and more.

Today, Tarjimly is the most accessible translator service for refugees in the world. Tarjimly volunteers live in 95 different countries, speak over 80 different languages, and engage in over 3,000 translations per month. By leveraging machine learning technology, Tarjimly is ensuring language is not a barrier to humanitarian aid.

There’s no doubt that these tech nonprofits will continue scaling their work to positively impact refugees. With an increasing number of refugee crises like those in Ukraine and Afghanistan, their work is more important than ever. We’re deeply grateful to The UPS Foundation for its partnership in supporting these organizations, and look forward to all that we’ll do together to scale tech solutions for refugees in need.