In 2017 Google provided grant funding to NetHope to make sub grants to nonprofit organisations who could incorporate devices into their development programmes.  Preference was given to organisations that could amplify the impact of their existing programmes, such as Education.

NetHope is a membership-based nonprofit consisting of 50 of the world’s largest humanitarian, development and conservation organisations. Concern Worldwide is an active member of NetHope and Ireland’s largest International NGO with operations in 29 countries around the world. Concern selected the Irish Refugee Council to partner with them to roll out this funding in Ireland. In late 2017 we invited people in the asylum process and those with refugee status to submit an application for a laptop.  The funding enabled us to purchase 35 laptops.  

In February 2018, we invited the 35 successful applicants to Dublin to present them with their new laptops.  The overall package included a laptop, a backpack, Microsoft Office, Norton Anti-virus and a 12 month warranty. Accenture kindly provided the office space to host the day which included lunch, a tour of Accenture’s Dock (an innovative multidisciplinary research and incubation hub), distribution of the laptops, some online training, followed by pizza & tea/coffee before everyone had to leave to catch their trains and buses back to 17 centres around the country.  

Aside from the practical purpose of bringing the recipients together to receive their laptops, the day turned out to be a hugely warm and joyous occasion. Not only were the winners receiving the laptops but it was a day out and away from their accommodation centres, and an opportunity to ask questions and chat with the staff about future job prospects.

Three months later we asked the winners to tell us about the impact the laptops were having on their daily lives - here is what they said,

“During college time I was able to do my assignments in time and do my research in my own time. I could work on my assignments without any disturbances as I would carry it wherever I want to go.  I have also been able to be in contact with my friends and family back home using Skype and Facebook. This has greatly changed my life as I feel so much closer to them now than before. My partner has also benefited a lot from using this laptop as he can also do his own research and contact his family and friends back home.”

“It is more efficient to do an assignment on a laptop, before I had to wait for someone to finish first using computers from the centre. I can now do so many free online courses at my pace.  It is easier now to research and save my documents. I also find that it has made studying easier. MY friends are also benefiting from this laptop. They use it to do assignments, we watch movies, and also skype our family members that are reachable.  I feel like I have rediscovered myself through this laptop. I am also learning how to type fast and how to use Microsoft applications. I learn new things every day and this has broken the idleness and circle of doing the same things on a daily basis.”

Apart from the obvious, which is job hunting, this laptop has helped me a lot in connecting with my family back home, my mom is always happy and look forward to our skype chats as she tells me that it does no longer seem like I’m miles away from them.”

“The laptop has personally helped me to complete all project for my FETAC level 5 course and I was able to graduate with 11 distinctions. It has also helped my mother in completed her online coursework.  My sister also benefitted by using it for study for her junior cert exams.  It has also helped in knowing more about the IT world”

If you would like to find out more about this partnership, please get in touch with our Education Officer, Charlotte Byrne 

Email Charlotte