EDMONTON – A group preparing for the arrival of refugees from Syria were using a number of tools to communicate, including Facebook and email, but found it both cumbersome and lacking the kind of security the job needs. That’s when one of their members suggested trying out an online platform called Tyze.
“It’s been a flurry of activity,” said Melissa Campbell, one member of a refugee relief group preparing for two Syrian families. She told the Edmonton Sun that one of the families will have a mom, dad, one-year-old child and a newborn. So far, Tyze has been used to co-ordinate furniture and food, find an apartment and move it all in time for their arrival.
Additional tasks to be organized include social insurance card applications, and doctor visits for the mother and newborn. The next family is going to be an even bigger test; their arrival later in the year will include a mother, father and seven children.
Tyze is proving to be a big help. “It’s a private and secure online platform that really is designed to help people co-ordinate a network of people that have come together to provide support to an individual or a family,” said Mary Lou Ackerman (pictured), vice president of innovation for Saint Elizabeth Health Care, a Markham, Ont.-based home care provider and healthcare social enterprise that owns Tyze.
Saint Elizabeth acquired the Tyze platform from a British Columbia company, and has been using it to connect clients at home and in long-term, acute and primary care with the people around them, including family and healthcare providers.
“It simplifies communication, it makes it really easy to share information and effectively utilize the volunteer resources that you’ve brought together into the network,” said Ackerman.
The site lets people identify an administrator who can invite others to join and then co-ordinate assistance through message boards, calendars, mobile updates and online information resources.
They have more than 10,000 active groups in Canada, the U.S. and Australia, but Campbell’s group is the first to re-purpose Tyze for refugee support.