Started in November 2016, Project Integration offers free computer programming courses to refugees and asylum seekers living in Geneva. Our main objective is to help refugees professionally integrate into the Swiss labour market by teaching them highly demanded web development skills. Our project also addresses the deficit of IT workers that exists in the Swiss technology sector. We currently have 30 students and three classes that take place four times a week at the Impact Hub in Geneva.
We hope that through these courses we are able to offer our talented students the opportunity to build a new skill, and eventually a new life in Switzerland. Historically, refugees and migrant communities have been the engine of innovation and growth over time, and we therefore truly believe that our project offers a win-win solution, for both refugees and Swiss society.
Our project has received a lot of interest from potential employers and this has allowed us to build a network of companies that would be open to offering positions to our students. We also organise professional skill building workshops and social events to fully prepare our students for professional life. Our project is one that is very community-oriented and through our courses we hope to create a system of mutual support, allowing our volunteers and students to learn from each other and work together.
Our courses are completely free of charge and we lend laptops to students that do not own them. In the near future we hope to welcome a more diverse mix of students, both local and migrant, in order to better mix with the local community and increase the level of integration.
According to a study published by the organisation «ICT-Formation Professionnelle», Switzerland expects to face a deficit of around 25,000 ICT specialists by 2024. On the other hand, the level of unemployment for refugees is around 80% during their first two years in Switzerland. For highly educated refugees, this interruption in their employment is damaging to their careers and social integration. Offering refugees and asylum seekers a chance to undertake in this targeted IT training therefore reduces the shortage of labor in the Swiss technology sector and has a positive impact on social expenses at the cantonal and federal level.
Why do we need your support?
We have launched this crowdfunding campaign because we cannot respond to the demand we have at the moment and would need funds to be able to pursue and develop our project. Up until now, our project has been 100% volunteer based and we have covered all costs from our own pockets. Your kind donations will contribute towards renting a space for our courses,developing educational material and increasing the frequency and intensity of our courses. We also plan to launch a class for refugee women in order to try and address the gender imbalance in the IT sector .