How has the current situation (COVID19) affected the activities that our partner CodeYourFuture provide to refugees? Read this short article to learn more about how our partner has overcomed this challenge during the COVID19 lockdown!
It wasn’t too difficult to move the classes online. CodeYourFuture operated in a hybrid fashion before the pandemic, in-person classes on weekends and online during the week. The challenges that COVID brought to supporting our students have mostly been outside of the classes.
Initially, we had to help some of our students stay online. Some previously relied on free WiFi in public spaces, while others lost access to computers. For some, their computers didn’t have webcams: our classes are still face-to-face – just on Zoom! We had quite a few challenges providing data, laptops and webcams, but we have mostly solved these issues.
Some students need extra emotional support. COVID created many challenges for our students – for example, those with dependents found they were struggling to balance childcare with studying. Some have suffered bereavement due to the pandemic. We’re speaking to our students regularly to ensure those who need extra support receive it.
We have been working hard to maintain the strength of the community. We are like a big family, and we miss each other. Many of our students live alone, so it is more important than ever to stay connected. While there is no substitute for meeting in-person, we’ve organised a lot of social activities online: there are tea breaks, remote game nights, and some enthusiastic students and volunteers are exercising together. Our creative coding sessions are proving very popular at the moment. We also held a remote Eid celebration; students from across our classes were able to connect; we even had people join from Tunis!
In the classes, there is extra focus on keeping people engaged. Learning at home can be very distracting. Zoom offers breakout rooms, which we have used effectively. Small groups can work together with Teaching Assistants, keeping students engaged throughout the day.
While our community can’t wait to be connected in person again, this new reality has allowed us to innovate. For example, we now run our workshops for new applicants nationally instead of locally – and we’ve had students from South Africa join. We’re also attracting volunteers from cities and countries where we didn’t have a presence before.
CodeYourFuture will emerge from the pandemic with a more sophisticated knowledge of practices and digital tools for our organisation – and perhaps some new programs that better fit the post-pandemic world.