articles Refugees on Rails: three month Rails course For the Refugees For Free

26 Oct 2015

A German nonprofit organization wants to help German economy by teaching, for free, refugees how to code websites.

The organization's name is Refugees on Rails and includes a group of tech entrepreneurs from Berlin, programmers in Ruby on Rails, one of the most popular programming application framework. They planned a three month course in which they will teach the Ruby programming language and the Rails framework. The course is scheduled to start in a month or two and the organization want to have at least 20 people who will attend. In three month period, the refugees can wait for their documentation and go to German classes. By completing the course they will have more chances to find a proper job.

Anne Riechert, the organization's co-founder, gave an interview to The World Post over Skype on Friday, saying the things written above and that they plan to teach in English and also in German so it's necessary to know at least one of the two languages. The course will be at beginner level so only minimal IT knowledge is required such as Internet browsing.

The work of Refugees on Rails has already started for six weeks making the program as accessible, and easy to manage, as possible for the refugees. They have consulted with Haj Ali Muhammed, a refugee, from Syria who arrived in Germany ten months ago. He told The World Post on Friday that the future is not secure and it will be great for them to improve their skills and their life, also that this will be good for society.

Since October 23, the nonprofit organization has only volunteers who are working for things to go smoothly. They are helped by simple locals and by tech companies like Microsoft and Deutsche Telekom regarding technical problems and by several coworking spaces in Berlin, regarding spaces for offices. Refugees on Rails is also seeking donations and more help, so it can make more projects for not only refugees. The co-founder hopes to make several partnerships with different tech companies, the German government or even with the European Union.

The Chancellor of Germany, Angela Merkel's suspension of the Dublin II accord, and her decision to do away with all effective vetting of asylum applications submitted by Syrians, looks certain to lead to an unprecedented number of migrants arriving in the country. Germany will have over 1 million refugees this year as the country's Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel said on October 11. About ten thousand refugees enter its borders every day, some of them risked their lives crossing the Middle East through Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq.

Some tech companies around Berlin had already asked for qualified refugees with specific technical skills from the nonprofit organization. Also, the staff of Refugees on Rails are looking after jobs so they can make courses for the specific jobs and also to find refugees that match the requirements. The organization plans to train a large amount of people in different areas of expertise and to find them jobs across entire Europe including Cologne, Paris, London, Stockholm, Copenhagen and Helsinki, and not just in Germany. People and authorities around Europe are also planning to follow the Refugees on Rails project and start training refugees in order to find them proper jobs and to reduce poverty and violence in their countries.

Earlier in October, Berlin-based Kiron University has also launched a free, three-year-long online university program for refugees in tech domain. The online language platform Duolingo is preparing to offer free German language courses to Arabic speakers in December.

But more is needed. Governments, companies and societies will have to launch more and bigger projects similar to Refugees on Rails in order to help the refugees. Rules, laws and policies will have to change in order to maintain stability across Europe.

The co-founder of the organization, Anne Riechert, said in an interview that even if their students don't stay in Germany, they can use what they've learnt in other countries.

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