Magdalena Tafvelin Heldner at Sweden's National Museum of Science and Technology.
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Magdalena Tafvelin Heldner at Sweden's National Museum of Science and Technology. Credit: Frank Radosevich / Radio Sweden
An image from the exhibit I'm Alive.
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An image from the exhibit I'm Alive. Credit: Frank Radosevich / Radio Sweden.

How mobile apps and internet aid refugees

Curator: We share the same digital environments but for different purposes
3:39 min

When tens of thousands of refugees started arriving in Sweden last year, many carried with them a smart phone. The device was a vital resource and a new exhibit at the National Museum of Science and Technology looks at how it shaped the journeys of migrants to Europe.

The exhibit is called I'm Alive and includes a video of Ahmad Terkawi, who left Syria with his wife and two kids. Terkawi suffered setbacks as he and his family tried to cross the Aegean Sea from Turkey to Greece. They eventually sought asylum is Sweden but Terkawi wanted to help others attempting to make the dangerous journey to Europe.

Magdalena Tafvelin Heldne, a curator at the museum, explains how Terkawi created an online group using social media platforms to send and receive information from migrants in boats.

"They help people by using GPS coordinates," she tells Radio Sweden.

Tafvelin Heldne says messaging apps and GPS navigation on smart phones have been critical tools for many refugees anxious for accurate information. And all this technology makes the events of last year more relatable for the Swedish public.

"It's so relevant to everybody, the use of smart phones but it's also an important field for Sweden," she says.

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