Access to electricity can be tough to come around for migrants and refugees in Greece. For many of them, electricity is vital since a smartphone is the only way they can contact their homes and families. You can often see people of all ages, crowding around a single outlet and waiting in line to call home. It’s crowded, inefficient and more times than none, it’s not free.
A team of students from Edinburgh University was determined to figure out a way to fix this problem. Their conclusion: solar-power. They designed a mobile phone charging station that would be powered by the sun, a resource that Greece has plenty of.
They’ve installed two units in refugee camps that would generate enough power to as many as 240 people a day; each station is configured to generate electricity for 12 plugs an hour using only solar power. The best part of it all: it’s free.
20-year-old Alexandros Angelopoulos, one of the founders for this project, speaks about his experience with refugees. Relieved to make it, the refugees sent selfies to their families and friends.
“People started asking for my phone to call family and to use the internet,” Angelopoulos said. Often, they were stranded at the port sharing one plug.
Continuing the project, three more units are already in the midst of completion using money raised through crowd funding.