Fundraise for us during Refugee Week!

Refugee Week takes place every year across the world in the week around World Refugee Day on the 20 June.  Refugee Week started in 1998 as a direct reaction to hostility in the media and society in general towards refugees and asylum seekers. An established part of the UK’s cultural calendar, Refugee Week is now one of the leading national initiatives working to counter this negative climate, defending the importance of sanctuary and the benefits it can bring to both refugees and host communities.

Phone Credit for Refugees has been operating for over three years now, and we’re not exaggerating when we say that this is all down to you. We’d like to take this opportunity to thank you for everything you’ve helped us achieve so far: not only have we built a beautiful and supportive community together, but we’ve also delivered an incredible 50,000 mobile top-ups -made possible by the staggering £900,000 you’ve raised and donated to our cause. Just let the enormity of those numbers sink in.

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But there’s still work to be done! If you’re looking for a new and exciting way of helping us to keep refugees and displaced people connected – why not get involved in a fundraiser? This week is the perfect time to shout about the work we do and start raising funds to help us keep those phones topped up. And to help you do just that, we’re thrilled to present our brand new fundraising pack!

Crammed full of hints, tips, ideas and advice, it’s the perfect way to get inspired and maximise your fundraising efforts.  Fundraising is a simple and fun way to spread the word about the work we do here at PC4R, so why not challenge yourself to try a new activity, while collecting cash for a brilliant cause? You could:

  • Sign up for a sporting event;

  • Set up a football tournament;

  • Hold a bake sale;

  • Organise an open mic night; or

  • Sell unwanted items on eBay and donate the profits.

These are just a few ideas, but there are loads more in our new fundraising pack. And to make collecting funds even easier, you can now set up your very own fundraising page on JustGiving.com in a few simple steps.

Once again, we thank you for your continued support, during Refugee Week 2019 and beyond!

With love and gratitude

Team PC4R

 

Celebrating 50,000 connections

It started with a simple concept and a small Facebook group back in February 2016. From truly humble beginnings and a plan simply to provide phone credit – a vital lifeline – to a handful for refugees, the Phone Credit for Refugees group has grown rapidly over the past three years. And this weekend, we’ve just provided our 50,000th top up!

To say we are grateful is an understatement. Because everything we have achieved – every top up that’s offered a displaced person connection, security, safety and comfort – has only been possible because of you, our supporters and donors.

Every penny you have donated; every minute of your time you have given sharing and liking our posts; every ounce of energy you have put into fundraising has all gone towards helping us reach this milestone. From everyone at PC4R, thank you.

We could go on, but really we think our founder, Jape, says it all…

“After just over three years of coming together as strangers on the internet to form a community that is dedicated to changing just one small thing in the world at a time, I am absolutely thrilled to announce that we have just sent our 50,000th top up!

That's 50,000 times that someone in trouble, somewhere in the world, has found help that would not otherwise have existed. Together you have reconnected people's worlds, changed their fate and sometimes even saved their lives. If you ever feel too small to make a difference, try anyway. You may just be surprised about what can happen. Thank you from the bottom of my heart all for the incredible difference you have made.”

- James Pearce, Founder

Of course, it doesn’t stop here. We will keep providing phone credit, because we know that the consequences of not providing it are too great for us to call it quits. It can sometimes feel like a monumental task, but we will stick at it, because we know that you, our donors, will stick with us. 

Moving forwards, we need your support more than ever – the number of requests show no sign of abating as the refugee crisis stretches on. But we will keep going exactly as we started – topping up one phone at a time.

We hope you’ll stand with us as we move beyond 50,000!

With gratitude,

The Phone Credit for Refugees team

It's our birthday!

It started on the first of February 2016 with a Facebook message from James Pearce that read:

‘If anybody has any friends who live in the jungle who they can vouch for, then please add them to this group so we can start to build up a group of recipients for phone credit. Likewise, if you have friends sympathetic to the cause who may be willing to donate, then please add them too. Thank you.’

It’s been three years since James reached out to his Facebook friends, asking them to consider adding their own friends to a new group he’d created called Phone Credit for Refugees. There were no long-term plans, no well thought out goals, only the inescapable sense that something somehow must be done.

James wanted to help the handful of refugees that he’d come to know personally in the Jungle, and he hoped that by asking his friends to add more people to the group, he’d be able to build up a network of donors to help those people in need. Now three years on – and with more than 58,000 members – the number of people we’ve reached has exceeded everything James could have imagined when he wrote that first post.

You have donated more than £780,000 to help support refugees in need all over the world - that’s 45,000 individual top-ups. And there are so many more people out there who need our help, and there is so much more we want to do!

But for now – on our third birthday – we’d like to celebrate everything we’ve achieved together. So, from our family to yours: thank you to all of you for your continued love, support, and solidarity. And as for the difference you are making to people’s lives, no-one can say it better than our recipients themselves…


It’s been almost 51 months for being detained inside Balikpapan Detention center. Today is the 3rd birthday of this group and I’m really very thankful for the dear admins for supporting us and provided phone credit. Thanks billions for your great efforts, supports, Love dear Donors. Best wishes for all of you guys.
— Mujitaba
 
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You are the owners of the hearts of mercy, Jape and your friends in the group. Thank you for being in this world. Words of thanks are unable to express in front of your humanity and ethics. Thank you.
— Youssef
I want to talk about my story, it carries the burden of suffering, which is long to explain. All I can say is that your group has reassured us that in this world there are still honourable people who work for humanity only. You Jape and your friends were an example of honour, integrity and humanity. Thank you with all our hearts.
— Yazan
Phone Credit for Refugees has been supportive to me to be able to used the top-up to stay in touch with family members and monitor the current insecurity of my country, affairs, political and the governances of the nation. I say a big thank you for this organisation, for their full support and assistance as a refugee and displaced person.Thank you and God blessed.
— Osagie
 
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We wish you success and progress. And thank you from every refugee you were the reason for his contact with his family.
— Khaled
I am displaced to the camps of oppression and displacement, displaced by the destruction and war that took place in my beautiful country. This is Syria now. Like every displaced person and refugee in this cruel oppressive world, I suffer the cold of winter, the heat of summer and the distance from my parents and homelands. But I come to a glimmer of hope from a beautiful group I met. By the queue they help me with the monthly credit. Every month my mother and I trust in it and the providers of this credit have done something to mitigate the pain of displacement.
— Anonymous

Looking back on 2018

It’s a bit of an understatement to say that a lot happened in 2018 - both around the world and closer to home. And as the year draws to a close, it’s time for us to reflect on the past twelve months - and start to make plans for the future.

You - our donors and supporters - are the cornerstone of our work. Without you, none of this is possible, and so we’d like to take this opportunity to show you just a few of the things that you’ve helped us achieve this year.

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  • Our Facebook online community has grown to an incredible 82,000 members - no mean feat for a group with such humble beginnings!

  • Thanks to your generosity, the number of top-ups we’ve provided since we began has risen to a whopping 44,600.

  • In 2018 alone, we have topped up almost 14,000 phones - that’s over 1,000 each month!

  • You fantastic lot have donated an astounding £780,000 to date, and of that amount, £200,000 has been donated and fundraised this year!

  • We now have over 400 regular monthly donors, who help us ensure the most vulnerable people on our lists are always accounted for (you can join them by clicking here).

And it’s not all about the numbers (although we’re thrilled and thankful for the above!). You have also been shouting about our work across other social platforms (*waves at our growing Instagram and Twitter family*), buying our bags, and just generally spreading the word about us far and wide.

As ever, we are in awe of your unwavering support - we really do mean it when we say that we couldn’t do any of this without you. So we would like to say thank you: thank you to everyone who has donated and fundraised for our cause; thank you for every post you have liked, shared or commented on; and thank you simply for being here with us and standing with refugees.

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Looking forward to 2019 

There is still so much more to be done, but we know that with your help we can make 2019 our best year yet. We’ve got some exciting plans to expand our fundraising and social media presence and have got a shiny new database in the works that will help us to streamline our processes and get help to those who need it faster. We’ll be working with our vendors to expand the list of networks and locations we can reach, and we hope to continue to grow our Facebook group and help refugees to share their stories and experiences with a wider audience.

And lastly…. will we finally hit the £1,000,000 donation mark? Our founder Jape has declared he’ll take a well-deserved holiday once we hit this milestone. Will the boss finally be able to turn off his computer and settle into the sofa with a cuppa to catch up on three years’ worth of bad television? Only time will tell!

With love and gratitude

The Phone Credit for Refugees team

Ps. We’ve now got a mailing list that you can join to keep up-to-date on our work - click here to subscribe!

How you can support refugees this Christmas

Want to give a gift more meaningful than a pair of socks? Something that’s helpful, necessary and will make a tangible difference in someone’s life? Read on for four easy ways you can support refugees and displaced people over the festive season…

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Give the gift of connection

For many, the festive season is about family and friends. In fact, spending quality time with loved ones is the most valuable gift we can receive. But for a refugee or displaced person, this is often not an option. Winter can feel bleak, long and lonely… but you can help change this. By buying a top-up voucher as a present this Christmas, you will be giving the gift of connection to a refugee or displaced person who may not have had contact with their family in months. It’s time to share the love!

Donate your Christmas

Feel like you really don’t need any more stuff this year? Struggling to think of gifts to ask for? Why not ask for donations to PC4R instead? This will help us provide top-ups to vulnerable refugees and displaced people in need, and will leave you with a warm, fuzzy glow that’ll be even cosier than new slippers. Promise.

Buy a PC4R tote bag

Need a fab present idea that not only looks good, but does good, too? We have just the thing! Our PC4R tote bags are surprisingly spacious and make a great Christmas gift. They’re also perfect if you’re looking to avoid single-use plastic. Every bag sold turns into phone credit to help a refugee family connect, and at just £12 (with free UK p&p), what are you waiting for? Order before 17th December to ensure delivery in time for Christmas.

Send us your old phones

Getting a brand new phone for Christmas? Then send us your old one! We’re always happy to receive old mobiles, which we can pass on to a refugee or displaced person in need. Before sending, please ensure it’s unlocked. Have a phone to donate? Please email us for the address.

Thanks for being here with us this year - happy holidays to all who celebrate around the world!

With love

The Phone Credit for Refugees team

Why Giving Tuesday is better than Black Friday

If you have a TV, radio or internet access, chances are you are now overly familiar with the term Black Friday – the day heralded by retailers as the start of the Christmas shopping period, marked by an abundance of discounts. Heck, perhaps you even decided to brave the mayhem and nabbed yourself a bargain or two.  

But have you heard of Giving Tuesday? Set up in the UK in 2014 as an antidote to the frenzied shopping madness, it’s a day when you’re invited to ‘do good stuff for charity’, by supporting your favourite not-for-profit cause (*ahem*… hi there!).

Now, we appreciate we have some of the best supporters out there (yes, you), who already know that donating cash for phone credit makes you feel ALL the good feels. But in the spirit of the day (27th November, in case you’re wondering), we thought we’d list six reasons why Giving Tuesday is better than Black Friday…

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You don’t have to leave your house

Didn’t fancy braving the increasingly wintry weather, battling for a parking space and queuing for hours with countless others, desperate to get first dibs on that ‘must-have’ bargain? Good news! On Giving Tuesday, you don’t even have to set foot out of your front door*. Simply pour yourself a cuppa while still in your PJs, put your feet up and head on over to MyDonate online. Job done.

(*You might still have to go to work. It is Tuesday, after all. Sorry about that.)

There’s no chance you might end up in A&E

We’ve all seen the Black Friday footage. Wowzers, it can get ‘heated’ out there. So, if ending up with a broken toe amidst a stampede of frantic shoppers was simply NOT your thing, Giving Tuesday could be right up your street.

You won’t find yourself with a room full of stuff you don’t need

Ever gone out for ‘just the essentials’ and ended up back home two hours later armed with two pairs of new shoes, a cuddly toy, three house plants and a mountain of scented candles? This is a common side effect of Black Friday. But Giving Tuesday? Not so much. Simply donate to your favourite worthwhile cause (*waves hello*) and retain that lovely minimalistic look at home.

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Giving makes you happy

You can’t argue with science, people. According to researchers, altruistic behaviour promotes the release of endorphins (the ‘feel good’ hormone) in the body, leaving you with that warm, fuzzy glow. So if you’d like to donate, we’re not going to stop you… it will make you feel good. And we like you.

Donating makes a BIG difference

Now for the serious bit: phone credit saves lives, and connects vulnerable refugees and displaced people with their loved ones. Every top-up we are able to make helps to make someone’s life that little bit easier. But we can’t do it without your support. We appreciate each and every one of you who helps us out - and so do our refugee friends.

It’s not all about cash

Hell no! It’s also about solidarity and saying nice things. So please, even if you don’t have the funds to donate right now, there’s still loads you can do to help us. Like our Facebook posts, retweet us on Twitter (double points for including our hashtag, #WeAreAllConnected) or pop over to Instagram to give us a follow.

As ever, thank you for being here with us.

With love,

The Phone Credit for Refugees team

Why I Donate


This week, Claire Chamberlain shares her reasons for donating to Phone Credit for Refugees.

Before a friend added me to the Phone Credit for Refugees Facebook group, I’d given little thought to the importance of phone credit for refugees and other displaced people. Writing that sentence now feels embarrassingly naive. Until then, I of course understood the need for shelter, warmth and food, and had donated clothes and money, run the London Marathon as part of a fundraising effort, and organised collections. But phone credit? It simply never occurred to me.

I’m also ashamed to admit that, aside from a cursory glance when I was initially added to the group, I didn’t pay a huge amount of attention at first. The odd ‘Friday Conga’ post would pop into my News Feed but, not really knowing what it was about, I scrolled on by.

I’m not sure what changed, but one Friday, I didn’t scroll on.

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Instead, I sat and read nearly a hundred messages in a comments thread: I witnessed donations, messages of solidarity, and a whole heap of gratitude. 

I thought about what it might feel like to be unable to contact my loved ones, and for a second the world fell away. That was the moment it hit me: connection – with family; with friends; with a group of humans who care – is just as sustaining as food, shelter and warmth.

In the online world of PC4R, borders don’t exist and humanity comes first. It is a place not just of connection and communication, but of love – and wow, this group offers it up by the bucketload.

I donate regularly now – it’s my way of sharing a little love and compassion, and it is a demonstration of solidarity. Which is important, because we are all human.

And we are all connected.

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We also asked members of our Facebook group why they donate - and here’s what they told us.

 

“I donate here because I like the sense of community the group has, and because I know every penny given goes directly to the refugees we are here to help.”

Wren

 

“I used to volunteer in Calais and I was exceptionally happy to have access to this service. It added a barrier of appropriate, professional behaviour between me and vulnerable people, as I did not have to give them money [for credit] directly. Since I left France, this is the only organisation I consistently support. Money is not wasted and I have seen how important the results are.”

Katie

 

“I volunteer weekly at a migrant detention centre – the only one of its kind in Portugal, as the rest are attached to the airports. The detainees are only allowed use of their phones (if they have one) two hours each day, and many don't have money or SIM cards. There is one phone in the hallway for them to receive calls, and it's their only connection to the outside world if they don't have a phone. So I see how important that connection is – whether it’s excitement because the phone is ringing when someone is expecting a call, or disappointment when the phone call is for someone else.”

Gail  

 

“Sometimes I miss home where we grew up; then I remember how lucky I am to have a home at all…”

Jenny

 

“I donate because it has an instant impact on someone’s life. It’s personal, there is a great community feel and I trust the admins. They do an amazing job – hours and hours of work. Very special people!”

Debbie

 

“Because phone credit saves lives.”

Ali

 

“Vulnerable people who are marginalised by society have this safe place in the cyber world where they can connect to not just family, but also access support groups, get information and feel less isolated.”

Lucinda

 

“My daughter's grandmother and her great grandparents were refugees after WW2. I am motivated to donate because good people helped them find a new home in America. And now it is time to pay it forward. Also, I am appalled by the politics in my country, so I want to do something to make the world a little bit of a better place. This is my something.”

Janice

 

It’s so important for safety, but also for mental health to be able to connect with people who care.”

Tessa

 

“Donating is one way of living my belief that we are all connected on our planet, and that the connections between us are worth much more than things like national borders and war.”

Helen

 

“I donate because although I work hard and am often away from home, I feel the world is so unbalanced in the distribution of wealth that I am embarrassed by the inequalities of life. We are one people, irrespective of colour, race, religion etc. I feel hopeful that my contributions go a little bit closer to closing the gaps and helping people to stay in touch with the ones they love. Jape and the group admins are truly awesome people – Earth Angels.”

Peter

 

“I grew up on the other side of the world from my grandparents, before email, Skype or even affordable international telephone calls, so I know something of how it feels to need to communicate and reconnect.”

Nathalie

 

“I can only imagine how it feels to be desperate enough to leave one’s home and lose one’s loved ones. In truth, I hope I never have to find out. In Calais, someone thanked me for being there and I realised I hoped he would do the same for me if needs be. We are all connected.”

Sue

 

“Because I can. It’s a life and sanity saver for so many and, even if I don’t give a huge amount, I like being a cog in a wholly virtuous wheel.”

Sara

 

“It's a mixture of helping those in need, paying forward the help I've had from family, friends and strangers, empathising with many aspects of the situation, imagining what I have never had to experience, awareness of some consequences of all the privilege I have, awareness of not having certain privilege or occasions when I've experienced discrimination, awareness that I have more than many (even though I'm in a tough spell financially, but trying to help with spreading the word), recognition that some equity can come from me giving to help balance things out, anger that these governments who were put into service have abused their power and frustration at those who seek more than they need to the detriment of others. Also that the grassroots organisations I support make a difference in many people's lives and that makes the world a better place and inspires others, and that those dedicating way more time and effort than me need support too, to carry on the good work. So, I guess that's why. Oh, and world peace.”

Jules

 

“I moved abroad just when the refugee crisis started to emerge. While watching the whole unfold, and wondering what could be done, I was homesick and felt very cut off, although I had love, family, shelter, food and felt very safe. I couldn't even begin to imagine what people who fled had to endure, but I felt great compassion. I feel like if I give something to relieve their pain, my pain is relieved too, if that makes sense. The group is special to me, because I’ve seen it grow from very few members to an incredible community, and I love the spirit and positivity.”

Trixie

 

“I live about 3000 miles away from my family, and the disconnect between us hurts enough; I can't imagine being in a place where I might not have any connection to them at all, so I feel it's my responsibility to help these folks whose connections to their families depend on contributions from people like me.”

Doc

 

And finally…

 

“Five minutes ago, I sent credit to a homeless minor in Greece. He said: ‘I will never forget this.’ The consequences of not doing what we're doing would be too great for us to stop.”

James Pearce, PC4R founder

 

We hope to see you at the Conga on Friday… even if you can’t donate, come and say hi!

With love

The Phone Credit for Refugees Team

How you can help us grow

How you can help us grow

Donations are the life-blood of our community, enabling us to provide vital phone top-ups to refugees and displaced people, and your online engagement goes a long way to ensuring these donations keep coming in. That means, even if you’re not in a situation where you’re able to donate right now, there’s still so much you can do online to show your support and ensure refugees are getting the credit they need.