Empower: Building A More Connected World

Empower: Building A More Connected World

Empowering refugees by restoring their basic human right of connectivity.

If you only had one tool to get people out of a refugee camp or to break the cycle of poverty, what would it be?

Empower believes that the answer is connectivity. This is because we are living in a refugee crisis unlike any other. We are in a refugee crisis in a digital world where more people own a phone than a toothbrush. Access to the internet gives people the information and communication networks they need to make informed choices, stay up-to-date with their health, continue their education, build their skills and find employment opportunities – ultimately uplifting not only themselves but their families, communities and countries.

Connectivity is the only tool that can build self-sufficiency and allow people to pursue a future that they would have otherwise been denied. Empower’s Internet solution makes connectivity more affordable and available for those who need it most.


Refugees currently lack affordable access to the Internet. A 2016 global study by UNHCR found that refugees spend up to 40% of their income on staying connected, sometimes trading food rations for a data plan. When they can get access to the internet, refugees use it to stay in touch with loved ones, reunite with family members, and pursue opportunities for resettlement or an improved life. The lack of an affordable connection ultimately impacts their mental well-being, community relations and possibility of future success.


Introducing EmpowerNet – an innovative web-app that optimizes affordable access to the internet, ultimately closing the access gap for refugee communities. EmpowerNet is the world’s first demand-management web browser that allows users to access the full internet without the need of a stable or high-speed wifi connection; saving refugees both time and money.


Empower installs smart WiFi routers in refugee camps and urban slums, provided by our platform partner HITCH. When users come to our WiFi hotspot, they can access a live internet connection through our EmpowerNet webapp to browse the Internet or communicate or they can access a local cache for high-definition video streaming on-demand. Each hotspot can store 1 TB of video content, which is equivalent to 1,000 hours of video or 17,000 hours of audio content.

With EmpowerNet, users only pay for the live data that they use which can reduce their cost by up to 60%. This is because the majority of internet usage is video consumption, which our web browser now allows users to access offline for free on the local cache.

The local cache updates itself regularly (daily or more) with our proprietary algorithm and cloud network so users get access to the most timely and relevant content. EmpowerNet gives users access to the most relevant and helpful slice of the internet.


Please visit their Indiegogo campaign page to see more as donating, spreading the word, sending them messages of support, and offering to join them, will push them closer to accomplishing their vision by 2022: to provide connectivity to even the most remote locations and help refugees participate as global citizens.

Empower’s co-founders: Joseph Truong, Vasiliki Belegrinis, Amal Naufer, and Akash Sidhu (left to right; Skaramagas Refugee Camp, Greece).

Empower is a social enterprise created by four students from the Schulich School of Business,

If you cannot financially support them, there are other ways in which you can help!

  • Join our social media #Empower Campaign: We believe that connectivity is productivity. Through our holistic solution, Empower can touch a variety of user needs. How do you want to #empower people? Share a photo with your response!
  • Follow us on our social media platforms:
  • Subscribe to our email list on empower10.org:
    • Be in the know of all our updates and exclusive info!
  • Become a #Empower Ambassador: