Each week we collect the most interesting, inspiring and innovative refugee stories from around the world to share with you. Here are this week’s picks:
Minecraft Helps Syrian Refugees Feel More Hopeful (via CNN Money)
Can playing a computer game really help refugee children cope with trauma? Evidence suggests that playing the right game can.
NYU researchers found that young Syrian refugees who regularly played Minecraft felt significantly less hopeless. The game provides a “sense of control and sense of possibility,” according the researchers — feelings many refugees lose once they are forced to flee their homes.
The study looked at 147 refugee children between the ages of 9 and 14 in Urfa, Turkey. It borders Syria and has a large refugee population. Participants had two-hour computer sessions five days a week over the course of a month.
You can read more about the study here.
How Tablets are Transforming the Lives of Young Refugees in Sub-Saharan Africa (via Mashable)
Did you know that more than half of school aged refugee children are not in school today? Instant Schools for Africa —an initiative providing free, unlimited access to online educational materials for young people and teachers hopes to change this.
“Instant Schools for Africa has the potential to transform the lives of millions of children excluded from education, giving them free access to the same materials used by children in developed markets to help them achieve their ambitions,” Andrew Dunnett, director of the Vodafone Foundation, partner of Instant Schools for Africa.
Read more about the program and where it is piloting.
In Maine, Ekhlas Gives Back to the Community That Gave Her Hope (via USA for UNHCR)
She first learned the English alphabet as high school freshman when her family resettled in Portland, Maine after being forced to flee from Sudan in 2003. Now at 25, Ekhlas Ahmed has a college degree, is working on her graduate degree and teaches refugee students at the very high school where she first learned how to speak English.
“I really believe that education gives people the opportunity to overcome obstacles, stereotypes and hardships they’ve endured in the past. Education not only opens doors, it opens minds. But if you don’t feel safe it’s so hard to learn.” Ekhlas Ahmed
Read her incredible story here.
Refugees in Utah Celebrate Graduation Years After Escaping Violence at Home (via The Salt Lake Tribune)
For the first 16 years of Eric Mugisha’s life, he lived in a refugee camp in Rwanda. Then after being resettled in Utah, he was forced to move into foster care as a teenager when his aging grandparents could no longer care for him. Now a high school graduate, he has his goals set on college and a bright future.
Catholic Community Services of Utah celebrate the achievement of Eric Mugisha and 13 other high school graduates — all of them refugees living in foster homes around the state.
Read the rest of Eric’s incredible story.
Forced displacement worldwide at its highest in decades (via UNHCR)
UNHCR’s annual Global Trends report says an unprecedented 65.6 million people were uprooted from their homes by conflict and persecution at the end of 2016.
“It speaks louder than ever to the need for solidarity and common purpose in preventing and resolving crises, and ensuring together that the world’s refugees, internally displaced and asylum-seekers are properly protected and cared for while solutions are pursued.” UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi
Read the entire report here.