Why Technology Can Make All the Difference for Refugees
About 11 million Syrian people have left their homes since the civil war began in 2011. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) estimates 4.8 million have fled to neighboring countries and 6.6 million are internally displaced. About half these refugees are children—many of whom no longer attend school.
But hope abounds as governments, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), and businesses work together to help empower these displaced individuals to create a new way of life. In June, HP was one of 15 private sector companies to respond to a White House Call to Action, pledging to work with the Obama administration to drive new, measurable, and significant commitments that will have a durable impact on refugees.
Rarely do refugees have access to education, let alone the most modern technology. Millions have been forced to leave everything behind, fleeing violence and conflict. This is the most important tool refugees can access in today’s world. That’s why projects bringing technology to refugees around the world are more important than ever.
Today, HP is building on its commitment by establishing six new HP Learning Studios in Lebanon and Jordan, in collaboration with Digital Promise Global, Global Business Coalition for Education, Microsoft, and Intel.
Here refugee youths can learn in-demand skills such as design thinking, three-dimensional design, and social entrepreneurship. Adults also have an opportunity for employment re-skilling so they can secure quality work opportunities.
The HP Learning Studios are creative, collaborative learning spaces where students drive the design and fabrication of products to address real-world issues that matter to them. The Learning Studios feature the latest hardware and software technology, including the immersive all-in-one 3D scanning and computing system, HP Sprout.
“HP is committed to empowering all people, wherever they are, to build a more prosperous life,” said Nate Hurst, HP Chief Sustainability and Social Impact Officer. “These HP Learning Studios are one way we can bring access to innovative technology and quality education where it’s needed most to give these displaced youth and adults a place to learn skills to help create a better future.”
Currently 61 Learning Studios operate in the US, Canada, UK, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Germany, Italy, Spain, Australia, and New Zealand. These six new Learning Studios (three in Lebanon, three in Jordan) are the first to focus exclusively on serving the needs of refugees.
What Other Technology Is Helping Refugees?
In addition, HP is partnering with other organizations to help improve the livelihoods of Syrian refugees, including International Medical Corps (IMC), Lynke, and Blue Rose Compass.
Together they’ve put together a center for refugees to use printing and computing technology. There, refugee can also access to HP Learning Initiative for Entrepreneurs (HP LIFE), which enables refugees to learn IT and business skills that complement local counseling on employment opportunities. It’s called the Livelihood Center, located in Istanbul, Turkey it’s also known as the Maharat Center.
The center is a pillar for refugees, providing training in job skills, labor laws, and entrepreneurship to help refugees find employment in the local market. The Maharat Center is a pilot that International Medical Corps hopes to expand to other locations in Turkey and elsewhere.
As part of a broader initiative, HP will also work with International Medical Corps to make online freelance opportunities available to refugees and identify projects that can be sourced to refugees via online freelance services.
Refugees in Jordan will have access to two new tech centers operated by Lynke and its non-profit sister organization Blue Rose Compass. Equipped with HP computing and printing technology and HP LIFE, the centers will provide refugees with training and support in application design and other opportunities for technical online freelance work. Lynke provides a globally recognized training program as well as direct employment of refugees for outsourcing work for international clients.
For those who left everything behind, technology can provide an essential bridge to a better future. Giving refugees access to the latest technology and opportunities to learn new in-demand skills enables them to participate in the global digital economy and create a more prosperous life for themselves and their families, wherever they are.