CALGARY: Syrian migrants get computers to help them settle in Canada
Local companies have donated gently used monitors, towers and laptops to the cause
While many take the use of a laptop for granted, incoming Syrian refugees see it as a luxury they can’t afford.
But, that’s something Musicians for Refugees and the Syrian Refugee Support Group (SRSG) are trying change.
Dmetri Berko who’s facilitating the collection of computers said these refugees need the computers to help them settle in Canada.
“As far as a tool they’re important,” he said. “The children need them to do their school work here, and in a lot of cases they’re learning English, so the ability to translate the operating system into their native Arabic is really important to them to build a sense of community.”
“Also if they’re intending on staying long term which most are, they definitely need access to this stuff to get work and get involved in their communities,” he added.
Berko said he and his wife were in Austria this past fall when there was a massive migration of refugees through the area. He said he saw firsthand how important technology like smartphones was in helping the refugees on their journey.
“The one thing that they did have when they didn’t have anything else was a smartphone,” he said. “ It was their connection to their family and friend and they were using social media to get around to appropriate border crossings and transportation.”
Sam Nammoura, co-founder of the SRSG said at first he didn’t understand why all the refugees were so desperate for computers.
“For years these family where trapped inside one room or tent, most of the time in complete isolation waiting to hear this phrase, ‘the war is over. You can go home,’” he said. “The only ways to hear this was by TV, smart phone and computer, so these three things have become a big part of their psychology.”
So far they have received donations from ES Williams, the Lions Club and Fluor, but said the need for gently used computers and laptops is high.
Berko said he’s currently wiping the computers and getting them ready to distribute.
Anyone who wishes to donate a computer can visit www.yycsyr.ca and contact the SRSG.
If you are interested in helping the Syrian Refugee Support Group Calgary please visit www.yycsyr.cca.