Teaching coding to refugees

Image retrieved from Wamda

Image retrieved from Wamda

Numerous programs are currently providing youth with digital skills and tools to help them develop as professionals and obtain high quality jobs to improve their living conditions. In January 2018, Wamda website published an article exploring the case of young refugees and how different organizations have recently trained them to leverage the benefits of ICTs.

According to Houssam Chahin, regional private sector partnerships manager for MENA at UNHCR, “Teaching refugees to code empowers everyone in the community: parents, teachers, volunteers, children, universities, schools, and nonprofits. Including IT education in education programs for refugees equips thousands of young refugees with highly job-relevant skills for future employability and self-sufficiency.”

The article provides some examples:

  • UNHCR (United Nations refugee agency) has provided coding workshops and bootcamps for youth aged 8-24 inside refugee camps. The organization even launched Refugee Code Week in 2016 to strengthen the economic and social contribution of migrants to their local communities and host countries.
  • SAP collaborated on the organization of Refugee Code Week holding workshops for over 10,000 youth. The event was focused on providing participants with skills that empower them for future employability in countries such as Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, Egypt, Iraq, Greece, France and Sweden.
  • The MIT Enterprise Forum (MITEF) for the Pan Arab Region’s Innovate for Refugees selected 20 teams from 12 countries to compete during a final ceremony in Amman in January 2018. The competition consisted in leveraging digital technologies to solve problems they face in the refugee camps.
  • com, a UK web-based platform, taught girls aged 8-14 coding through a gamification process in order to support youth from Syria in refugee camps.
  • The Norwegian Refugee Council taught basic ICT skills and programming languages to young refugees.

In the end all of these programs share one major goal, which is to empower youth to become more employable and improve their future living conditions with the support of ICTs.