Immigrant students are meant to elevate their communities

The MIT Refugee Action Center (ReACT) recently celebrated its third certification in the Computer and Information Science Team online. REACT is an annual online education program for gifted refugees and displaced people.

The graduation team of 50 students represented 22 countries around the world: the epidemic has shifted to all online programs with the broad representation of the program. “We are all isolated, but we have found a platform where everyone comes from a variety of cultural backgrounds,” says student Blaine Alem. “It’s more than a community, it’s like a family.”

ReACT at MIT Solve is a massive MIT initiative launched in 2017 to respond to calls for refugee education solutions. The key innovation of the MIT REACT model is the support of four main pillars, the universal support of online learning – scholars, human skills (sometimes referred to as “soft skills”), professional practices and hands-on learning projects and networks. List of strong internal partners of the program: MIT Bootcamps, MIT Abdul Latif Jamel World Education Laboratory (J-Well); MITx, And the MIT International Science and Technology Initiative: and provide practical learning opportunities for external partners, charities, companies, universities, and graduates, so ReACT students will be using MIT et Manus (Mens et Manus) MIT’s motto. To do. In practice.

A new kind of online community

Participants in the RACT Certificate in Computer and Data Science Program will take online primary education MITx Courses in programming, computer thinking and information science. The students also participated in online workshops in partnership with J-Well and Refugee Skills Development, where they develop and test skills in creativity and entrepreneurship, creativity, leadership and problem solving. The program includes opportunities for participants to apply their knowledge and skills in a paid place or in a distance learning or experience learning project with a member of the MIT ReACT Enterprise Network.

Typically, RACT offers a learning program that blends with the local MIT boot camp experience in Aman, Jordan. The epidemic emphasized the need to provide accessible learning opportunities for displaced and vulnerable people, so the program was fully rolled out in 2020-21. The 50 students selected from the rigorous implementation process come from a wide variety of backgrounds around the world, but the program team-based model and digital platforms allow everyone to stay connected, support, and inspire each other.

The team was online for 10 weeks deep, complete MIT Creative Leadership Boot Camp, Among the 300 aspiring global entrepreneurs in Bootcamp, to build their leadership skills and create new jobs. Student Lubna Karkaz says, “I have worked with four different coworkers with different nationalities and backgrounds. Although it was initially challenging in terms of culture, language and time differences, we became friends afterwards, and we reached the final five groups to present our ideas in a high-quality committee in the fields of education and entrepreneurship. ”

Strength, connection and opportunity

The graduation ceremony celebrated the unique challenges faced by the all-encompassing team during a particularly challenging year. Admire Masik, director of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at MIT, began the celebration by sharing how ReACT has transformed from a concept to a fully-fledged program. Masik, a refugee, once told his students: “Knowledge is something that no one can take away from you. In his opening remarks, Krishna Rajagopal, Acting Vice President of Open Education, said, “There is no limit to talent.” The students shared their experiences and demonstrated their experiences.

Many students shared how REACT opened new employment opportunities in their careers. Gloria Carrascal initially found the program challenging because of her English proficiency, but she said, “I was confident in every step of the program. This was a place to learn and to be brighter and more active in life. I find the strength to work every day to create new opportunities. ”These include organizing workshops at the University of Atlantic and a presentation from a Northeast University professor to apply for a Ph.D.

Student Rand Wadi was an electrical engineer, but after a hands-on learning project with FRCodeCamp: an organization that provides high-quality free interactive online training in software engineering – he moved to turn career tracks into that field. Another student, Lubna Karkaz, was able to use her skills as a MIT REACT student to maintain her current job. He then applied his experience at Pitton and Innovation Boot Camp to its current location, which brought more profit to the company and positive feedback from its management.

Other groups have been able to apply what they have learned from REACT to make a positive difference in their environment. Since the beginning of the program, Alejandra Garcia Izaza has been able to develop Covi-19 cases and vaccines in her native Colombia. Another group, Nuru Yetu (Swahili means “our light”), wanted to develop a DH-Lab curriculum at MIT OpenCourseWare to install and protect sustainable energy sources such as the sun in northern Uganda. Student Rutund Wadeim took the initiative to translate the curriculum she learned from FreeCodeCamp into Arabic and share it with other students and immigrants.

One of the last student presentations was from Amisy Jopin Hassan, founder of ADAI Circle, to share his knowledge of data science and artificial intelligence with others in the Dazaleka refugee camp and villages in Malawi last year. Today, ADAI Circle has a collaborative space, youth laboratory, electronic laboratory, computer laboratory, playground, and more.

MIT REACT Education has the potential to create new opportunities, livelihoods, and hopes for refugees and displaced students. ReACT is currently receiving applications for the fourth edition of the Certificate in Computer and Data Science (CDS) from January 4, 2022. With more than 100 vacancies, the Western Union Foundation and individual sponsors such as John and Maria Paffer, the new long-term online education program of the year for the most talented refugees and disadvantaged students around the world to date.

Rajagopal told the graduating class, “My challenge is, how do you open your education to build your communities? How do you shoulder your shoulders for others to stand on? ”


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