Currently, Utah is home to nearly 60,000 refugees from over 25 countries of origin. Due to the Syrian conflict, the plight of refugees has risen to the forefront of international media and people’s consciousness worldwide. However, this is not a new situation, prior to the flight of Syrian refugees, refugee camps across the globe already sheltered millions of refugees.
Of those millions, less than 1% ever get the opportunity to be resettled and each year, Utah becomes a safe home for around 1100 refugees.
This transition to life in America, though very welcome, is often a difficult one. Providers do their best to assist, but a need always remains and few efforts can apex that of a welcoming community embracing these new members.
One such area of need that the state Refugee Services offices, Cotopaxi and several other Salt Lake area businesses have teamed up to address is computer literacy and technical skills. This public-private partnership focuses on youth from 5 individual refugee communities (Bhutanese, Burundian, Congolese, Karen, and Sudanese/South Sudanese) and pairs them with skilled professionals teaching computer programming through a curriculum provided by code.org. These kids have overcome war, displacement and limited opportunities in makeshift camps to being our neighbors, now working hard to catch up and succeed.
Support is still needed to scale this initiative. We welcome your help. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in learning how you can get engaged.