Providing Transport for Those in Need: Yuri Milner’s Two Tech For Refugees Programs With Uber

Accessing safe, reliable transport can be daunting for individuals resettling in new countries or communities. From difficulty traveling to important appointments to difficulty pursuing job opportunities, barriers to transportation can significantly impact refugees’ journeys toward stability and self-sufficiency.

Yuri Milner’s Tech For Refugees has partnered with the ride-hailing company Uber to help displaced people overcome their transport-related challenges. Here’s how Tech For Refugees’ two programs with Uber facilitate access to transport and empower refugees to rebuild their lives.

1. The Uber, NeedsMap Turkey Program

On February 6, 2023, a series of earthquakes killed more than 55,000 people in Turkey and Syria. These were the worst earthquakes the region had experienced in two decades. More than one year on, humanitarian foundations like the Turkish Red Crescent are still providing support to affected communities.

In May 2023, Tech For Refugees announced a new program in partnership with Uber and NeedsMap to address the transport needs of Turkey’s earthquake victims.

NeedsMap is a Turkish data-matching platform and social cooperative that allows users to request or offer support for various needs. Since 2015, more than 120,000 members, 350 non-governmental organizations, and 70 private sector organizations have used the platform.

As part of the new program, a grant from Tech For Refugees has allowed NeedsMap users in Turkey to buy Uber ride credits. In turn, Uber has covered the expenses and costs for all rides taken, ensuring that any payments go straight to local drivers.

The program operates in a region of Turkey that the earthquakes severely impacted. This region covers cities like Hatay, Osmaniye, Kilis, Elazığ, and Malatya.

2. The Uber Credit Program for the International Rescue Committee

In August 2023, Tech For Refugees announced that it was expanding its partnership with Uber and the International Rescue Committee (IRC).

The IRC first teamed up with Tech For Refugees in early 2023, when Yuri Milner’s non-profit made a three-year financial commitment to the IRC’s efforts. The donation is supporting the IRC’s expansion of its Signpost project. Signpost is a tech-enabled “HelpDesk” that offers vital — often life-saving — support and information to refugees.

Under the new program, the IRC can access Uber credits to help refugees address their transport needs. Uber rides make it easier for the IRC’s clients to pursue economic, educational, and employment opportunities.

Numerous factors can impact refugees’ access to transport, including:

● Varying degrees of driving experience, language proficiency, and available funds.

● Childcare responsibilities, particularly for primary caregivers.

● Gender disparities, especially those affecting women refugees’ access to car ownership.

● Inadequate accessibility features for individuals with disabilities on public transport.

● The increased global cost of gas and transportation.

The program also entitles the IRC to Uber credits so it can facilitate its own operational needs. Access to safe, dependable transportation helps the IRC’s staff connect with clients, which supports the IRC’s crucial programs.

Aside from transportation, technology can make a major difference in many areas of humanitarian relief work, such as fundraising and aid shipment. Tech For Refugees and its partners continue their varied efforts to address the global refugee crisis.

Discover all of Tech For Refugees’ programs.

About Yuri Milner

Many know entrepreneur and investor Yuri Milner for his contributions to technology and philanthropy. He gained prominence through his investment firm DST Global, which has supported major tech companies like Facebook, Twitter, and Airbnb. The billionaire is a Giving Pledge signatory and has pledged to donate most of his wealth to charitable, mainly scientific causes.

Yuri Milner is a co-founder of the Breakthrough Prize, which celebrates scientists and their groundbreaking discoveries. He also created the Breakthrough Junior Challenge, a global science video competition for high school students.

In 2015, Yuri Milner and Stephen Hawking announced the launch of the Breakthrough Initiatives at the Royal Society in London. The suite of research programs explore various fields of space science, including astrobiology and aerospace engineering.

In 2021, Yuri Milner released a short book called Eureka Manifesto: The Mission for Our Civilization. The manifesto outlines his vision for advancing space exploration. It also emphasizes the importance of investing in fundamental research to address some of humanity’s most pressing challenges.

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