Robotics and programming can also be a way out for children with multiple disadvantages and refugees. It is visiable that the gap between the poor and the non-poor growing at an accelerating pace. Soon it will be impossible to do any job without being digitally savvy. At least at a minimum level.
Almost 40 IT mentors are now able to work with children in the Afterschool Geekery, mainly in Hungarian, but some of them also speak English and some can also give sessions in Ukrainian.
Afterschool Geekeries are opening constantly, which we are very proud of and we aim to provide more workshops for children in need to learn the basics of digital literacy and programming.
Programming robots seems an almost impossible task for a 10-year-old Ukrainian refugee child who has barely attended school, with literacy and maths skills at the level of a first-grader. The same is true for most disadvantaged young people. The Foundation for Global Human Dignity (FGHD) summer camps have proven that this can be achieved beyond all expectations. It was then that the organisation decided to continue the work it had started. It is not just a one-off opportunity to give a child a glimmer of hope, as tools and mentors are needed to move forward.
“It is very painful to see the gap between the poor and the non-poor growing at an accelerating pace. I think there will be plenty of jobs and areas in our lives that will be replaced by robots. Soon it will be impossible to do any job without someone with at least a minimum level of understanding of these tools,” said Gábor Daróczi, CEO of FGHD.
With the support of SOS Children’s Villages and Partners Hungary Foundation, the chance has been given to continue. With experienced trainers open to learning new skills and a sufficient number of laptops, the longer-term work could begin. The most up-to-date tools can now reach the most needy.
“We are teaching computer programming, which in the future will be like learning to write, all the forecasts point to this. These children are usually already screen addicts, but we can convert them from useless screen use to useful screen use. It’s terribly easy to motivate kids, we can make intuitive and spectacular things happen in no time, partly with robots and partly with game development.” informed Péter Mekis, lead instructor.
The Scratch programming language, developed by MIT Media Lab researchers, can be learned by people who can only read and write a little and can manage in the 20s.
The programme trains IT mentors to run so-called Afterschool Geekery(C). The team includes teachers, recent graduates and Roma people working in the field or with Roma. None of them is encountering for the first time what it is like to work with disadvantaged people.
The Foundation provides support to help set up the Afterschool Geekery(C), but they also keep in touch with the trainers afterwards: they provide online mentoring and plan regular face-to-face meetings.