Refugees Emancipation: Helping refugees to shape their future

Chromebooks help refugees to prepare for their future: finding a job or returning to school. 

February 2018. On the ground floor of the refugee welcome center in Potsdam, Germany, a small internet café invites the residents of the accommodation to research or study online. The non-profit Refugees Emancipation has installed internet access and equipped the accommodation with laptops received through a donation from Project Reconnect. The refugee-led organization is dedicated to help refugees get access to online resources and has already equipped nine refugee homes and other facilities with Internet access and computers. Residents of the accommodation in Potsdam can borrow the Google Chromebooks, small internet-based laptops, for up to four weeks at a time and use them in the internet café, and even outside the refugee home. 


At a small launch event at the refugee home in Potsdam, volunteers from Refugees Emancipation explain how the Chromebooks work and what they can be used for. Some of the refugees already have very specific ideas. 

Osman Zamani plans to use the laptops to prepare for a job. He fled from Afghanistan. For two years he has now lived in Germany. Osman already speaks German quite well. His language certificate acknowledges that he can cope well with everyday situations in German. For Osman this is not enough: He wants to improve his German further. With the Chromebook he wants to prepare for the language examinations at a more advanced level. With such a certificate, he could apply for a job in Germany. Osman was a cameraman in Afghanistan. He made videos for online news. "I would like to do that again in Germany," he says. Osman plans to first create a CV and then cut some videos with the Chromebook. 


Like Osman, 17-year-old Masoud Faqiri waited outside the door of the internet café before the small launch event. Masoud arrived in Germany half a year ago. Since then he has diligently learned German. In conversations, he translates for his mother who fled with him. Masoud knows exactly what he wants to use the laptops for: watching YouTube tutorials to further improve his German. He has taught himself to read, write and speak German with these videos. He hopes that he will soon be allowed to attend school. "I want to become a dentist," he says, "and study in Germany." The first step will be the admission to a German school. Until then, Masoud will continue to study German by himself - at the internet café in welcome center in Potsdam and with a borrowed Chromebook outside of the premises.  


Post by Theresa Ritzer, NetHope - Project Reconnect