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Refugees in Iraq prepare for digital future

Ariana Dongus and Christina zur Nedden write for Deutsche Welle:

When Goory Al-Hamed fled from Damascus, she didn't think twice about what to take along: a few clothes and her laptop - not knowing that it would soon become her most important asset.

Now, just over three years later, the 27-year old woman sits on a pillow in a refugee camp South of Irbil, the Kurdish capital of Northern Iraq, her laptop in front of her, next to her a little gas oven, the only heat source on this cold morning. Goory quickly types out a programming code. Her web application prototype is almost finished. But then the light goes out with a bang: another power cut. Goory shuts down the laptop and leaves the shanty. She passes the white tents of the UN refugee agency, the football field, the mosque and the Iraqi security guards' office and walks out of the camp. A few minutes later, the bus arrives that takes her to the programming school.

Goory is training to be a software developer, not in a conventional university program that runs for several years, but quickly and intensely within eight months. When the program started last July, 500 refugees applied. She passed the test and is now one of 40 students that receive an education for free. Only a few had prior knowledge in coding.

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