Updated: Jan 22
Imagine: you are forced to leave your home, escaping violence, extreme poverty, environmental devastation, or a natural disaster. You arrive in an unfamiliar country, are asked to speak an unfamiliar language. You are told that the only way to seek legal counsel, find social services, build connections, and find steady work is through online platforms. But if you are one of nearly 80 million forcibly displaced people worldwide today, there’s a good chance you’ve never even turned on a computer. For most Americans, this seems impossible. Computers and basic digital literacy are tools that many of us take for granted.
Nearly 75% of displaced persons today lack a high school diploma. This gap in education creates even more hurdles on what is already a long, arduous path to asylum. Endless paperwork, navigating a new language and culture, and being unable to work or to provide for one’s family can add to the emotional strain and trauma of forced displacement. Not having the basic skills and qualifications to participate in the digital job market should not be one of these factors.
At One Digital World, we believe quality education is a human right. That’s why we provide digital literacy and ESL education to connect refugees and asylum seekers with job opportunities, social services, and legal services. Since 2017, we have been going straight to the source, offering courses in digital literacy, typing, job skills, and ESL directly to asylum seekers wherever they are--in camps, shelters, or temporary housing. We do this by partnering with shelters and other nonprofit organizations that support refugees and asylum seekers on their journey to self-sufficiency.
Our curriculum began inside refugee camps in Samos, Greece; now we are thrilled to be bringing these opportunities closer to home in partnership with shelters on the US-Mexico border, where we are building computer labs and updating our signature curriculum. In our Computer Basics course, participants learn essential skills including keyboard concepts, email, accessing information online, communicating online, and working with software and hardware. After successfully completing 30 hours of coursework, each participant will be eligible to earn certificates from Microsoft and typing.com. They will also begin online resume creation.
Our student participants will also have access to conversational English classes that focus on increasing fluency in reading, writing, speaking, and listening and may incorporate math, science, and social studies to improve English knowledge, increase access to higher education, and expand job prospects.
Despite the additional precautions we are taking because of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are still moving forward and preparing to begin our next round of classes online. Will you help us in this vital work?