International Institute of St. Louis Teams Up with T-Mobile to Ensure Afghan Refugees Have Access to the Internet

The International Institute of St. Louis distributed tablets and 5G smartphones enabled with unlimited talk, text, data, and unlimited hotspot tethering on T-Mobile’s nationwide network – America’s largest, fastest and most reliable 5G network – to recently-arrived refugees and parolees.

The International Institute has welcomed 697 Afghan refugees over the past year. With hundreds of Afghans newly calling St. Louis home, there is a need to ensure they are welcomed into the community and connected with the resources that will ensure their ability to integrate and thrive.

There are many factors that weigh on a refugee’s ability to thrive, and one of them is access to internet. Refugees are 50% less likely have to have an internet-capable phone than the global population, and access to the internet has become vital for everyday life. From connecting with their loved ones, to receiving updates and services from organizations like the International Institute, to accessing educational opportunities—the internet a vital resource for this community.

“When refugees integrate into a new community, they strengthen that community for the better. They fill jobs, open businesses, add to social networks and contribute their own unique cultural practices and perspectives to create a richer, diverse community,” says Arrey Obenson, President & CEO of the International Institute. “Building up economic and social infrastructure like a newspaper and chamber of commerce will sustain the growing community in the long term, and in the short term we are happy to be working with T-Mobile to ensure these families have access to the internet.”

The International Institute via the Afghan Support Program is distributing 200 tablets and smartphones, and helping families get their devices set up during a distribution day on Saturday, July 16. The mobile hotspot on the smartphone can connect to up to 10 devices allowing families to get direct access to the internet.

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