Last October, I had a great opportunity -- which I came to see later -- to learn Scratch, a programming code language designed for young people by MIT. Soon, I wanted other people, especially kids to also learn this great tool and program.
In this line, we started a program where we teach kids Scratch using RDB ICT buses. During our journey, which is still continuing, I have come to realize that kids, who use or see a computer for the first time, are fast learners though I do not have facts and evidence to back this up; it is just my pure observation!
Recently, I went to Jordan to teach the same coding program language to refugees at the Zaatari camp with SAP, Galway Education Center people. Also, I remarked that kids, though they are refugees, learn pretty much faster than I had expected!!
Going from one country to another, one cannot help but observe that there are numerous and different posters and flyers in cities and towns of kids studying, reading or writing. As far as I am concerned, that shows me the power and importance of education, pertaining especially to kids, either refugees or not.
I remember a story that I read on the Daily Mail online magazine of Adi Hudea, who was 4 years old, a Syrian refugee girl in Turkey, who surrendered when a photographer pointed a camera on her, for the little angel assumed it was a gun.. Also, I read another article, written by The Guardian, that talks about a young Syrian boy -- 3 years of age -- called Aylan Kurdi who drowned trying to access the Greek island of Kos swimming a sea; his brother, who was 5 years old, also passed away through the same circumstances. All these stories show that the refugee crisis in Europe and America is alarming and needs solution. I have been pushed by my penchant for kids and education; after reading those stories, I melted in tears and could not do nothing but go to the rescue of these poor kids. Another fact that I heard during my time in Jordan is that refugees are not a lost generation. Through this blog and my Twitter account, I want to raise my voice to say that refugees are not a lost generation whatsoever!
I strongly believe -- I am not alone -- that every kid on this earth should have equal opportunities to education, as they are avid learners and backbone of a country’s development and progress. That is why we have been teaching refugees kids to code so that they may gain a crucial skill that can help them in a near future.
Following this is the schools of coding project, in which we will partner with different stakeholders and key partners for the success of it. The aim of this project is the same; empowering kids between 5-18 years through digital education i.e. coding software languages training. This work is, not to forget to mention, in line with Phil, the Minister of Youth and ICT of Rwanda’s vision,“Today literacy should go beyond just knowing how to read and write, even beyond digital literacy- knowing how to use computers. Basic literacy for the next generation should be about coding.”
Coding is a great skill, especially in the 21st century, to have to be able to thrive. Refugee kids are not forgotten and also are to be taught this skill in order for them to use it in the future so as to impact their lives and others’ on the way.
A fact of matter in all is that refugees are able and are avid learners, which makes them worthy and not less. Indeed, they are not a lost generation!
This post's writer is Aphrodice Mutangana