Although there are more refugees today than there were at the end of World War Two, the global response to this modern day crisis is based on systems that were created almost seventy years ago. A reluctance to incorporate new technology and infrastructure into refugee response procedures has resulted in antiquated international structures that fail to help people fleeing from conflict. With 68.5 million forcibly displaced people worldwide, a figure that is expected to climb as climate change worsens, it is imperative that political mechanisms are updated to accommodate this crisis in a humane way. One of the main issues that refugees face is unemployment. With institutional barriers to work, lack of proof of accreditation, and a growing education gap, it is difficult for refugees to access jobs. While changes in policy are needed to structurally address this issue, improvements in technology have the potential to open doors and provide opportunities for refugees to build new lives for themselves. There are many organizations that use technology both as a medium and a subject for career paths and educational opportunities that allow refugees to help themselves and improve their lives. These opportunities create ways for displaced people to create revenue without work permits, learn marketable skills that can travel with them, tap into global markets, and regain dignity. This conversation points to the intersection of technology and fiscal opportunity as a way to enrich the lives of refugees and provide solutions to modern problems.
Near the Za’atari refugee camp in Jordan, ROW and 3Dmena envision a 3D printing workshop that would give refugees the ability to craft products that they need, from medical tools to prosthetic limbs. This lab would cut down on costs for humanitarian aid and provide people in Za’atari camp with products that they need while providing a practical training in programing 3D printers and an avenue for refugees to innovate. ReDI, a school in Germany, teaches refugees and German citizens how to code so that they can enter the job market. This institution both provides valuable skills and allows refugees and Germans to get to know each other as peers. ReBoot Kamp, a school for coding in Jordan, offers a very similar program for refugees and Jordanian citizens. Other companies employ refugees by contracting them to perform online coding projects. The list of organizations that utilize technology as a means for job training or employment is long.
Organizations that use technology to work with refugees have unique opportunities to enrich communities and individuals; however, they are also presented with unique challenges. In this conversation, participants will discuss how institutions can ensure that they are implementing best practices when working with refugees, the logistical challenges of implementing these programs, the ways that digital careers and training can strengthen communities, and more.