Campaign helps young migrants from war-torn countries who dream of becoming Sheffield software developers

Young asylum seekers who fled their war-torn home countries in Africa are dreaming of future careers as software developers in Sheffield thanks to Laptops For All.

Monday, 6th June 2022, 6:56 am

The tech-poverty charity has donated devices to asylum seekers and political refugees so they can learn coding skills and build successful lives for themselves in Yorkshire.

One of the beneficiaries, a 24-year-old man from West Africa, said: “If there are words to describe how it feels to be in the UK, these would be freedom, safety and development. The opportunities to grow as a young person are vast and amazing. Even though I’m not yet given the right to access those opportunities and services, I’m still glad for the ones given to me now.

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Laptops For All has provided devices to young migrants from war-torn countries living in Sheffield.

“I’m taking a course in software development and nothing would give me more joy than to be granted refugee status to remain in the UK. Having a laptop will help me achieve my dream of becoming a developer in the tech world and will give me a great opportunity to build up my portfolio, my courage and my motivation.”

The charitable campaign worked with University of Sheffield researchers and ‘Football Unites, Racism Divides’ new Centre for Development, which is working with young migrants who have experienced loss and trauma to give a helping hand as they build their lives in Sheffield.

Another of the beneficiaries, a 21-year-old woman from East Africa, said: “I am at peace right now with what I have been through in my country and I am really happy and relieved to be here. My hopes and dreams are to become a website or software developer because it is my passion and I feel I am good at it. I have started a coding course so a laptop will help me achieve that goal.”

University of Sheffield researchers are studying how different policies and practices can improve the situation of young migrants throughout Europe.

Meanwhile, Football Unites, Racism Divides Educational Trust (FURD) is a youth and social inclusion project and charity based in Sheffield that uses football as a tool to break down barriers created by ignorance or prejudice and engage socially excluded young people.

FURD aims to help further address digital exclusion by connecting the young people receiving laptops to the Centre for Development’s digital literacy support.

Technology entrepreneur David Richards, co-founder of Laptops for All campaign, said: “We are delighted to be helping these young people establish themselves in the UK by providing them with devices and data so they can learn valuable skills. Sheffield has always been a very welcoming city and we are proud to be working with the University of Sheffield and Football Unites, Racism Divides to provide support to asylum seekers who have fled war-torn countries.”

It is estimated that six per cent of UK households remain offline, making it difficult to take part in activities that so often require the internet, such as education, employment, healthcare and even staying in touch with family and friends.

The campaign launched as Laptops for Kids in 2020 in response to the pandemic and has sourced 15,000 devices for communities across the North of England.