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The aims of the project are:

  • To help young refugees and asylum seekers to gain the English language and computer literacy skills they need to access mainstream education and integrate into their new communities.
  • To allow students at the University of Kent to gain language teaching and volunteering experience, which will increase their employability and internationalization.

This project started in November of 2016 as a collaboration with the organisation Kent Refugee Action Network a local charity working with young refugees and asylum seekers striving to live fulfilled, independent and successful lives in our community. So far, the project has benefited over 40 unaccompanied refugee minors and 20 undergraduate and postgraduate students from the University of Kent. The young refugees, who are between 16 and 18 years old, come from a range of backgrounds, including Afghanistan, Eritrea, Syria and Sudan, and they have recently arrived in the country unaccompanied by adults. Many of them have had limited or no access to education because of conflict or because of the community they come from.

The project involves undergraduate and postgraduate students teaching English to the young refugees for two hours every week at the University. The students work very closely with the refugees using an online programme, which also allows them to develop computer literacy skills, as some of them have not used a computer before or do not have access to a computer at home. Developing English language and computer literacy skills are key for the refugees to be able to access mainstream education and to work. Many of the young refugees who started the project in 2016 are currently attending college.

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