Computer Literacy Enriches Refugee Youth

Logistics & Programming - Chris

The seed of SPI’s computer program was planted in the summer of 2016 when a Syrian volunteer with a professional IT background asked if we could start a program for kids, which seemed like an excellent idea. We first received a donation of six new laptops at the end of the summer and began enrichment the coming fall. Since then, our collection has grown to 10 laptops and seven desktops.


“The heart of the program is the belief that computer literacy is fundamental for the success of the next generation—for school, for work, for connection and communication.”

Besides learning the computer skills, the process of learning itself—the patience and practice required to develop their typing skills—is a valuable outcome, showing the kids that with determination and putting in the time and effort, they can see tangible results from applying themselves.

There were two sections for the youth computer program, each meeting once a week. The enrichment program will continue into 2018. So far we have a list of over a dozen kids who wish to join, so we are hoping to open a third section in the near future.

Keep a look out for the incoming women’s computer program as well!

Volunteer Thought & Perspective - Alaa

These kids have been affected by the conflicts in Syria. This generation has seen things causing them deep emotional pain and have given them a sense of fear very early on in life. Some of them have lost a father, some others a sister or brother. And right now, all of them have lost their homes. With all the horrors and difficulties we should support them in every way possible so they don't completely lose their childhood. As volunteers we support them to communicate with eachother and create a safe space for them to engage and practice new skills.

“That’s why I dedicated my time to educate these kids because they deserve a better life and a brighter future.”

computer class refugees
In my lessons I don’t focus only on technical education but also support them to work in teams… to learn from each other and transfer the information they learn through peer teaching. At the end of each lesson we also have a social meeting where we discuss or tell stories. Most of the time random ones about difficulties being had at school. This group is for computer skills, team building skills, and social development.

We have a competition at the end of each lesson so before our social meeting they have to do their best to be one of the two winners! The winner is my assistant and the next week the second one will be my assistant. These positions are a very good catalyzer to motivate them! By the end of the course, which lasted for around 3 months the kids could build proficiency in typing. They transformed from 3-6 WPM to 20-30 WPM, which is very close to the average number for teenagers (25-30 WPM).

The second volunteer, Basel, wasn’t so sure about his first class experience because unanticipated challenges arose. He thought perhaps he couldn’t continue. But, his motivation and desire to help and support the youth kept him going— taking to research and self-learning tactics he taught himself about youth class management.

“In the end it has been one of my best experiences!” (Basel). He will continue the program during 2018.


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