Donate your smartphone and make a difference


Donate your smartphone and make a difference

Gifting your smartphone to our friends seeking asylum will help them progress their lives

11 December 2020

Donate your smartphone and make a difference

Donating your old tech

JRS is collecting used smart phones and tablets that are in good working condition to give to refugee friends experiencing the asylum and immigration system. We’re looking for:

  • Smartphones and tablets in great working condition (able to make and receive calls & texts, a working screen, able to hold charge) with no significant marks or scratches
  • A working and compatible charger 
  • Sim cards and data should be removed


The importance of a working smartphone

Increasingly we are reliant on our phones to stay connected and to navigate our way through life. We are glued to our screens to see updates on social media, hear the latest news as it breaks and keep in touch with family and friends across the world. As technology advances our phones are relegated to forgotten drawers in favour of the latest shiny gadget to keep us entertained.

This reliance is no different for those going through the asylum and immigration system in the UK. If anything, access to a good quality phone is more important for our friends because it is their link to accessing legal advice, emotional support and other assistance. It can therefore leave someone incredibly isolated if they try to navigate this system without a mobile phone because it has been confiscated by a smuggler on their journey or seized by Immigration Officers when they arrive in the UK.

When our friends are detained at Immigration Removal Centres they are given a basic phone that allows them to call and text – enough to keep in contact with family, solicitors and charities but nothing more. No camera, poor audio quality, no internet access, nothing. When they are released back into the community, these phones are returned. Many of our friends are left without access to smartphones as they try to find their feet after weeks, months, years detained.

In the community, our friends need this important resource to be able to progress their lives – a cheaper way to stay connected through WiFi, the ability to search for a new solicitor or the nearest GP surgery, the possibility to partake in online classes and activities, and the capacity to use a translation/ interpreting service to overcome the barriers that language can cause.

A decent smart phone or tablet could make a huge difference, especially as we continue to adapt to the ongoing impact of the pandemic. We have seen a huge amount of change recently and swathes of organisations, charities and services have moved many aspects of their support online to maintain contact when meeting face to face has not been possible. However, many of our friends do not have the ability to follow this move; only adding an additional layer of isolation and another barrier to support.

For those we support post detention, gifting your old smart phone will allow them to take part in ESOL classes, activities and support groups. It will enable them search and find their way around the area they are living, helping them to feel more settled. Most importantly, it will assist our friends to keep in better contact with their family and friends across the UK and world.

The difference your old phone can make

A refugee friend was able to attend online ESOL classes and re-connect with his community thanks to receiving a donated phone from JRS. He shared this message of gratitude with the team:

أروع كلمات الشكر معطرة برائحة الفل والريحان أقدمها لك، لكل ما فعلته من أجلي ولمساعدتك لي في كل الظروف وفي العسر قبل اليسر. مهما قدمت من كلمات شكر لا” أستطع أن أوفيك حقك فأنت فعلت الكثير من أجلي وقدمت لي يد العون دون انتظار مقابل. إليك أجمل الأمنيات بالصحة والعافية والمستقبل الباهر وكلمات شكر نابعة من القلب بكل حب وإخلاص.

“The most wonderful words of thanksgiving scented with the scent of jasmine and basil I present to you, for all that you did for me and for your help in all circumstances and in hardship before ease. No matter how many words of thanks I offer, I cannot fulfill your rights, for you have done a lot for me and offered me a helping hand without waiting in return. Here are the most beautiful wishes for health, wellness, and a bright future, and words of gratitude stemming from the heart with all love and sincerity.”

How to donate your device

If you would like to donate a smartphone or tablet to a friend of JRS UK experiencing the asylum and immigration system, please read our tips below:

  • Smartphones or tablets should be in excellent working condition (able to make and receive calls & texts, a working screen and able to hold charge) with no significant marks or scratches
  • Smartphones or tablets must be wiped of all data and restored to factory settings OR be accessible for a member of team to erase all data
  • A working and compatible charger should be provided 
  • Remove any Sim Cards

Please send your device(s) to*:

Jesuit Refugee Service UK
The Hurtado Jesuit Centre
2 Chandler Street

Or contact us to arrange delivery in person, or if you have any questions. We are usually open for deliveries between 10 am and 6pm, Monday to Friday.

*Please include your name and contact details so we can thank you and contact you with any questions we may have.

This news was last updated on 2nd February 2022.

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Jesuit Refugee Service UK
The Hurtado Jesuit Centre
2 Chandler Street, London E1W 2QT

020 7488 7310

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