Coding dreams, creating futures: Ukrainian adolescents thrive in IT classes supported by UNICEF
In an increasingly digital age, proficiency in IT equips young minds with essential skills that empower them to navigate and excel in various domains.
In an increasingly digital age, proficiency in IT equips young minds with essential skills that empower them to navigate and excel in various domains. From honing creativity through graphic design to unlocking problem-solving abilities through coding, IT education fosters a versatile skill set that can be applied across more disciplines.
Moreover, the use of digital tools enhances communication, research, and presentation capabilities, essential not only for academic success but also for future careers. Beyond the practical part, the IT classes cultivate resilience, adaptability, and a sense of achievement, preparing the young generations to create their own paths in a world where everything is connected.
For the Ukrainian refugee adolescents in Galati, Romania, the IT classes organized by Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) with UNICEF support are shaping their digital skills, but also opening doors to a world of new opportunities.
Under the guidance of Cosmin Crihană, IT teacher, the classes have been running since April, providing a safe and nurturing environment for these adolescents to learn and grow. "I watch them very proudly as they progress from one week to another, not only in terms of digital competence but also in mastering the Romanian language," says the teacher.
At the beginning, there were only 15-17 Ukrainian participants, but in the meantime more adolescents joined the courses this summer. In their classes, the Ukrainian adolescents are using HP laptops to access different programs and applications to solve their tasks. HP Inc. donated these laptops to UNICEF, through the Global Business Coalition for Education to support the emergency response in Romania.
“We started with a focus on Microsoft Office, teaching them how to effectively use Word, PowerPoint, and Excel. The younger participants enjoy exploring creative techniques in Paint, while the teenagers are more attracted to learn about tables, graphics, and complex formulas.", says their teacher Cosmin.
"My goal is for them to spend their time in the most beneficial way. I'm thrilled to have more advanced students who speak English; they assist their peers in understanding concepts better."
Ed, a 16-year-old adolescent from Odessa, who arrived in Romania last October, is one of the hub's early participants. Drawn by his parents' recommendation and his interest in the world of technology, he joined the IT classes in April. Ed expresses his enthusiasm for working with Excel, which not only sharpens his mathematical skills but also improves his English level, because he is using the programs with features and settings in English.
"I would like to learn CSS and other programming things. I don't see myself as a future IT guy, but I'd like to become an engineer, so I guess the IT knowledge would be also useful in the long term,” says Ed.
Anya, a 13-year-old, expresses her excitement about the skills she has acquired. "I like that I have learned how to work better in Excel and create beautiful presentations in PowerPoint. That’s good for school too, when I start again in autumn." Moreover, she would like to take a deeper dive into coding and graphic design, demonstrating her aspirations to combine creativity with technology.
The hub isn't just about technical skills; it's also fostering connections and friendships. "I am also happy that I have made a lot of new friends at this hub, and we hang around after the classes," says Ed.
Through the dedication of Cosmin, the IT teacher, and the support of UNICEF and JRS, this hub in Galati is transforming the lives of Ukrainian refugee adolescents. As these young minds continue to learn, create, and connect, they are building a foundation that will undoubtedly prove invaluable as they prepare to go back to school in autumn. The knowledge acquired within this hub will equip them with essential skills for the forthcoming school year, regardless of the diverse directions their aspirations might lead them towards.