When Toufic "Tey" Al Rjula realized he was ‘invisible’ – a man without a birth certificate to prove his place of birth – it was the start of a long fight to establish who he was. It made clear to him the hardships faced by refugees without an identity, and inspired his work to ensure that no one is denied that right.

Tey Al Rjula is of Syrian descent, born in Kuwait. In 1990, at the height of the Gulf War, the country’s civil registries were destroyed. Lost in the destruction were Tey’s birth certificate and other important documents.

In 2011 he came to the Netherlands, where he worked for five years until his contract expired. With Syria gripped by war, returning was not an option. Tey’s only chance to stay in his adopted country was to apply for asylum.

Bu there was a problem. Tey knew who he was. But with the destruction of his records in Kuwait he couldn’t prove any of it. “There I was in the asylum camp, without a birth certificate, without documents, not being able to identify who I am.”

And he was not alone.

I encountered thousands of Syrian refugees who have lost their land titles, academic certificates, birth certificates, passports, driver’s licenses, and are not able to prove who they are.


Tey spent two years struggling to get out of the camp, and the stories of so many other ‘invisible people’ and their struggle to establish an identity moved him to act.

Teaming up with a few software developers, right in the refugee camp, he started to code and build a mechanism that is working to ensure everybody there has a proof of identity.

We designed an identity system that can verify what is true about yourself, about your credentials, leveraging the trust and authenticity of blockchain technology.


But that was just the beginning. Out of the refugee camp, and on the way to acquire Dutch citizenship, Tey now has a much more ambitious goal: support the Self-Sovereign Identity movement, so that no one need ever be ‘invisible’ again.