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Rebuilding Refugee Lives through Education

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Growing up in Austria, I witnessed firsthand the fall of the Iron Curtain and the subsequent wave of immigration that happened. We went to the Berlin Wall. We stayed in East Germany and drove through Checkpoint Charlie before it was all dismantled. We were asked to remember the stories of the immigrants from across Eastern Europe and were mistaken for Gastarbeiter (“Guest Workers”) ourselves. And for the last several years, — as the crisis has hit new levels in the last few months in Europe, — watching and hearing the refugee stories, I’ve been moved once again by the incredible courage, resilience, and yes, audacity of these new immigrants.

Since the crisis started, we at Udacity have been looking for a way to make a meaningful impact. Today, we are excited and honored to announce our partnership with CodeDoor and Social Impact Labs to help refugees in Europe regain career opportunities and achieve their dream of a better life for their families. We are starting in Germany and look to expand to neighboring countries soon thereafter I want to personally thank our partners Karan Deghani and Nicolas Ritouet at CodeDoor and Norbert Kuntz from Social Impact Labs for working so quickly to bring this program together.

We will be offering 1,000 Nanodegree scholarships over time for refugees contacted through CodeDoor, starting with 6 locations in Germany, — Berlin, Potsdam, Frankfurt, Duisburg, Hamburg, and Leipzig, — followed by others thereafter throughout Europe. Today’s program follows scholarships programs we are already offering in Egypt, India and the United States.

As we ask of all of our local partners, CodeDoor and Social Impact Labs will help with local mentorship, local employment connections, and critically, local community support and resources to make learning possible. These include access to the internet, computers, a stable place and time to learn, and even weekly workshops to help refugees acclimate to a new work culture and interview more effectively.

We will also work in parallel with local employers throughout the program so that jobs await these new immigrants. Their dreams are our dreams. As a daughter of immigrants, at a company founded by an immigrant, from a country built by immigrants, all of us at Udacity are looking forward to seeing the first graduates from this program and to helping refugees rebuild their world.

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