• Text size Normal size text | Increase text size by 10% | Increase text size by 20% | Increase text size by 30%

Displaced in Georgia get access to computer and information technology

Making a Difference, 1 February 2010

© UNHCR/S.Maisuradze
A group of eager young boys try out the computers in Karaleti settlement.

KARALETI, Georgia, February 1 (UNHCR) The UN refugee agency has expanded its Community Technology Access (CTA) programme to Georgia, giving thousands of displaced people access to computers for education and livelihood purposes.

"Knowledge is a key, and this programme is giving that key to IDPs [internally displaced people] and refugees here," Peter Nicolaus, UNHCR's representative in Georgia, said on Saturday at the opening of Georgia's first CTA centre in the new settlement of Karaleti, which lies in the Shida Kartli region close to the breakaway region of South Ossetia.

UNHCR and its implementing partner, World Vision International, plan to open similar centres in the coming weeks in eight more settlements in Shida Kartli and two in north-east Georgia's Pankisi Gorge, where some 800 Chechen refugees are rebuilding their lives with support from UNHCR and its partners.

The Shida Kartli region shelters about 30,000 people who fled their homes during the brief conflict in August 2008 between Georgia and the Russian Federation over South Ossetia. Some 4,200 of the IDPs live in the nine settlements.

The launch of the programme in Georgia was welcomed on Saturday by those who will use it. "Having access to the internet means I can stay up-to-date with new information and pass it on to my students," said Sophio Melquoshvili, who fled her home in August 2008 and now teaches in a primary school.

Another IDP, Marika Gochashvili, said: "I used to be a nurse, but I cannot find nursing jobs here so I am interested in learning as much as I can about ICT [information and communications technology] so that I can teach others."

The CTA programme was announced last September at the annual meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative by UNHCR and its corporate partners, Microsoft and PricewaterhouseCoopers. The aim is to help improve the lives of the forcibly displaced by giving them access to computer technology, including the internet, for education as well as business and livelihoods purposes.

Under the first phase of the programme, successful pilot projects were launched in refugee camps in Rwanda and Bangladesh. The CTA centres in Georgia are being opened under the project's second phase, which will see computer technology brought to the displaced in Georgia and up to eight other countries.

The CTA project in Georgia will also maximize the role IDPs and refugees play in the delivery of information and communications technologies, including training them and locals to become managers of ICT facilities, maintenance and repair technicians, and teachers.

The centres will provide classes for children and computer literacy courses and distance learning for youth and adults. Other services will include entrepreneurship training, business centres, employment services and career counselling. Where possible, CTAs will generate income to cover costs.

Shida Kartli's Deputy Governor Giorgi Avaliani applauded the opening of the centre and thanked UNHCR for helping the IDPs. "I am sure that new technologies, and access to those technologies, will change their everyday life," he said, adding that the project "will have a very satisfying result."

By Suzanne Murray-Jones in Karaleti, Georgia

• DONATE NOW •

 

• GET INVOLVED • • STAY INFORMED •

UNHCR country pages

Internally Displaced People

The internally displaced seek safety in other parts of their country, where they need help.

Education

Education is vital in restoring hope and dignity to young people driven from their homes.

DAFI Scholarships

The German-funded Albert Einstein German Academic Refugee Initiative provides scholarships for refugees to study in higher education institutes in many countries.

Related Internet Links

UNHCR is not responsible for the content and availability of external internet sites

Education for Displaced Colombians

UNHCR works with the government of Colombia to address the needs of children displaced by violence.

Two million people are listed on Colombia's National Register for Displaced People. About half of them are under the age of 18, and, according to the Ministry of Education, only half of these are enrolled in school.

Even before displacement, Colombian children attending school in high-risk areas face danger from land mines, attacks by armed groups and forced recruitment outside of schools. Once displaced, children often lose an entire academic year. In addition, the trauma of losing one's home and witnessing extreme violence often remain unaddressed, affecting the child's potential to learn. Increased poverty brought on by displacement usually means that children must work to help support the family, making school impossible.

UNHCR supports the government's response to the educational crisis of displaced children, which includes local interventions in high-risk areas, rebuilding damaged schools, providing school supplies and supporting local teachers' organizations. UNHCR consults with the Ministry of Education to ensure the needs of displaced children are known and planned for. It also focuses on the educational needs of ethnic minorities such as the Afro-Colombians and indigenous people.

UNHCR's ninemillion campaign aims to provide a healthy and safe learning environment for nine million refugee children by 2010.

Education for Displaced Colombians

Chad: Education in Exile

UNHCR joins forces with the Ministry of Education and NGO partners to improve education for Sudanese refugees in Chad.

The ongoing violence in Sudan's western Darfur region has uprooted two million Sudanese inside the country and driven some 230,000 more over the border into 12 refugee camps in eastern Chad.

Although enrolment in the camp schools in Chad is high, attendance is inconsistent. A shortage of qualified teachers and lack of school supplies and furniture make it difficult to keep schools running. In addition, many children are overwhelmed by household chores, while others leave school to work for local Chadian families. Girls' attendance is less regular, especially after marriage, which usually occurs by the age of 12 or 13. For boys and young men, attending school decreases the possibility of recruitment by various armed groups operating in the area.

UNHCR and its partners continue to provide training and salaries for teachers in all 12 refugee camps, ensuring a quality education for refugee children. NGO partners maintain schools and supply uniforms to needy students. And UNICEF is providing books, note pads and stationary. In August 2007 UNHCR, UNICEF and Chad's Ministry of Education joined forces to access and improve the state of education for Sudanese uprooted by conflict in Darfur.

UNHCR's ninemillion campaign aims to provide a healthy and safe learning environment for nine million refugee children by 2010.

Chad: Education in Exile

Sri Lanka: IDPs and Returnees

During Sri Lanka's 20-year civil war more than 1 million people were uprooted from their homes or forced to flee, often repeatedly. Many found shelter in UNHCR-supported Open Relief Centers, in government welfare centers or with relatives and friends.

In February 2002, the Sri Lankan government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) signed a cease-fire accord and began a series of talks aimed at negotiating a lasting peace. By late 2003, more than 300,000 internally displaced persons had returned to their often destroyed towns and villages.

In the midst of these returns, UNHCR provided physical and legal protection to war affected civilians – along with financing a range of special projects to provide new temporary shelter, health and sanitation facilities, various community services, and quick and cheap income generation projects.

Sri Lanka: IDPs and Returnees

 Jordan: Alaa's DAFI ScholarshipPlay video

Jordan: Alaa's DAFI Scholarship

Alaa is a young Syrian refugee who is attending a Jordanian university close to Zaatari refugee camp thanks to a scholarship from UNHCR's DAFI program. With demand outstripping the available scholarships through DAFI, more funding is needed to ensure bright young Syrians don't miss out on a university education.

Khaled Hosseini gets to know Muzoon, the Play video

Khaled Hosseini gets to know Muzoon, the "Malala of Syrian refugees"

Muzoon is a student, a writer and a fierce advocate for education. She is also a refugee. UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador spent time with her at Azraq camp in Jordan.
Beyond 'Those People'Play video

Beyond 'Those People'

Young people in remote regions of Colombia's Tolima department are at high risk of displacement and recruitment. The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) has set up education projects to support and protect children and youth. This project has been carried out as part of the EU's Children of Peace initiative, which uses the money from the EU's 2012 Nobel Peace Prize to help children affected by conflict.