Education in and nearby Refugee Camps : Meet Cham’s NGO Sofiane Ammar

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Can you tell us more about your NGO Cham’s and where do you operate?

CHAMS is an international NGO, with an ambition to empower refugees in Africa and the Middle East by teaching entrepreneurship through coding and remote job soft skills. The result ultimately is to connect them with job opportunities in the ICT and Digital sector globally. It’s a low volume and high touch approach bringing selected refugees to be a role model for their communities.

We plan to train 10,000 young coders by 2030 from the refugees in capitals and camps run by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the host communities through a global program in the Middle East and Africa. We aim to establish a consortium of partners, donors and supporters who want to provide life changing education and job opportunities. Cham’s vision is to contribute massively to the reduction of unemployment among refugees and host communities by reinforcing their employability in the Middle East, Africa and globally.

We operate in Jordan and in Kenya.

Sofiane, you are originally a tech entrepreneur, what made you decide to shift careers and objectives?

There were two consecutive events in 2016: visiting Zaatari camp as a UNHCR ambassador and meeting with Frédérique Chevalier, the founder of thecamp innovation campus, changed my personal outlook. The theme of a more sustainable and inclusive world that I have set up with the campus and a very committed team was clearly decisive in my choice to change career.

What would you like to achieve in the next two years?

Scale up my coding school in Jordan to 1000 refugees with 42 schools that we plan this year, and launch our pilot in Kenya.

Why do you participate in the LearningPlanet Festival? What will you be sharing during your session?

It is an international festival where we can share our work and meet some inspiring people.

I will share some of our current refugees’ jobs and success stories.

Are you optimistic about the future?

The only way is to have a positive attitude in this overwhelming world overflowing with news. 

I like what Pope Francis said recently about refugees and it makes me feel good:

History teaches us that the contribution of migrants and refugees has been fundamental to the social and economic growth of our societies. This continues to be true in our own day. Their work, their youth, their enthusiasm and their willingness to sacrifice and enrich the communities that receive them. Yet this contribution could be all the greater if it were optimized and supported by carefully developed programmes and initiatives. Enormous potential exists, ready to be harnessed, if only it is given the chance.”