This German tech school is providing refugees with skills, training, and support.
The best part? Everyone benefits from it.
Germany is a champion in welcoming refugees inside its borders.
A recent global survey even confirmed the people of Germany as having some of the most welcoming attitudes toward refugees in the entire world.
Awesome work, Germany!
Once refugees make it to Germany (or any country) and apply for asylum, their next crucial hurdle arises: getting a job.
Keep in mind, these are people who have left their entire lives back home, undergone an arduous and dangerous journey, and arrived in a foreign country to create a brand new life. So, where do they even start?
Enter Anne Riechert, digital strategist and founder of Berlin's Peace Innovation Lab.
Riechert wondered whether her tech experience could help newly arrived refugees, so she visited their homes to better understand the problem. That's when she met Muhammed, a talented IT student from Baghdad who wanted to develop his skills, but had no access to a laptop.
This inspired the idea for Refugees on Rails, a grassroots movement designed to teach refugees the programming language Ruby on Rails. But again, the whole no-laptop thing was still an issue.
Unfazed, Riechert took to social media and got to work.
With a little Facebook magic, Riechert was able to secure 100 laptops from her friends. And the numbers don't stop there. She also recruited 15 teachers, 30 volunteers, and 30 possible partners. She even found two UX designers to help create their website.
Clearly, they were off to a booming start. The program had 50 students in Berlin, and they were expanding into other cities.
That's when the movement split into two: Refugees on Rails and the ReDI School of Digital Integration.
Anne and her ReDI co-founder, Ferdi van Heerden, found that nothing beat actually working with the students in person. It also allowed them to train an important job-hunting skill: networking.
Since starting in February 2016, the school has provided its growing student body with the resources they need in order to be successful: computers, access to co-working spaces, mentors from the local startup scene, courses in business intelligence and digital entrepreneurship, and most importantly, a connection to potential internships and jobs.
No doubt this program will help solve the shortage of IT professionals in Germany. Couple that with the plan of local lawmakers to pass the first-ever bill integrating refugees into the country's economy, and you have a recipe for success.
But more than just helping with their professional lives, ReDI is giving refugees a chance to find creative solutions to everyday problems.
One of the students, Rami Rahawi, even came up with an ingenious idea to help fellow refugees learn to speak German: an educational karaoke app.
That kind of idea has the potential to help anyone, anywhere. Imagine what ReDI's students will think up next!
Opportunities like this have the potential to benefit not only refugees but also society as a whole.
When we come together and welcome all members of the human race with open arms, we're rewarded with valuable insights and ideas that can help the entire world.