Google's Non-Profit Is Giving $5.3 to Educate Syrian Refugees Like This One

Google.org is trying to help refugees regain the lives they lost.

The crisis in Syria has forced many people to flee to other countries, giving up the lives they once had.


Jacquelline Fuller, director of Google.org, tells the story of Ahmed from Aleppo, Syria:

“Last year, he was forced to leave his hometown because of the war that has forced millions of his compatriots out of their country. He left his family and his studies — everything — behind to find a better future in Europe. Now safe in Berlin, his dream is to continue his studies and eventually become a teacher at a university in Germany.”

In an effort to reclaim the life he lost, Ahmed has been met with barriers. He must find food and shelter, learn the local language, acquire a job, and find the time to resume his studies.

Google.org has announced plans to setup a $5.3 million grant to launch Project Reconnect — a partnership program with a nonprofit called NetHope, which seeks to help aid refugees in Germany by giving them Chromebooks. NetHope plans to use the grant to purchase 25,000 Chromebooks equipped with educational apps to help asylum-seekers resume schooling and learn the language.

“I mean they’re really people running for their lives,” said British-Indian novelist Salman Rushdie. “And, of course, I think they need to be not left to starve and die in various no man’s land, you know. They do need to be accommodated somehow.”

Other major businesses have been teaming up with nonprofits to innovate new strategies to help aid asylum-seekers. IKEA helped back Johan Karlsson's Better Shelter project. The shelters are sturdier than the tents refugees are typically housed in. And, in typical IKEA fashion, no tools are required to assemble these shelters. However, Karlsson's foundation is only able to produce around 2,500 units a month. But with millions in Syria fleeing, it's becoming difficult to keep up.

A 2015 report showed Germany registered nearly a million refugees. Those 25,000 Chromebooks won't make a dent if given out to individuals, which is why Project Reconnect is working to put these laptops in internet cafes where educational events can be organized. In addition, Deutsche Telekom is giving away discounts on broadband access.

Refugees count on the generosity of major groups in order to survive, but the real question is will this generosity be enough for them to thrive in their new homes?

***

Photo Credit: KAY NIETFELD / Stringer / Getty

Natalie has been writing professionally for about 6 years. After graduating from Ithaca College with a degree in Feature Writing, she snagged a job at PCMag.com where she had the opportunity to review all the latest consumer gadgets. Since then she has become a writer for hire, freelancing for various websites. In her spare time, you may find her riding her motorcycle, reading YA novels, hiking, or playing video games. Follow her on Twitter: @nat_schumaker

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