Technology Beaming Hope to Refugees
The world’s first satellite-enabled interactive distance learning project is enabling refugee children in Ghana to continue their education
We tend to think of refugee camps as temporary structures, but most of us fail to realize that many people live in them for several years. This presents serious challenges, specially for children who face serious danger of falling behind with their schooling or dropping out of education altogether as it can be very difficult to get qualified teachers to reach the camps on a regular basis.
But now technology is bringing a cost-effective and viable solution to that problem, in a pilot project recently trialled at the Ampain Refugee Camp in Western Ghana. The camp was established back in 2011 to shelter displaced Ivoirians fleeing the hostilities following the November 2010 Côte d’Ivoire Presidential elections. It is currently home to over 3,000 people, including around 225 school-age children who go to the Ampain Primary school established within the camp.
The Varkey Foundation Teach to Reach Remote Classrooms Project (TRC) funded by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is the world’s first satellite enabled live two-way interactive distance learning programme for children living in a refugee camp. Each classroom in the school is equipped with a projector and a low-cost durable computer to receive lessons via a solar-powered satellite link. Since April, the foundation has been running interactive distance lessons from qualified teachers based at its studio in Accra to support the children in the camp with their learning.
According to Vikas Pota, CEO of the Varkey Foundation, the goal of the Ampaign project is to prove that the concept works in an emergency situation to increase children’s school attendance and build opportunities for teachers and community members that directly impact learning for pupils.
Originally published at Alice Bonasio.