By Kristin Kalning
June 20, Redmond, Wash. -- It was 11:00 a.m. on World Refugee Day, and a large group had gathered around an expansive, window-lined conference room on the Microsoft campus. Inside, the tables were ringed with tidy, white Intel Education tablets, ready to be shipped to Greece.
The devices, donated by Microsoft, are an integral part of a joint Microsoft and NetHope's No Lost Generation Tech Task Force pilot in Greece. The devices will provide access to educational and skills-training content from Microsoft, HP, Coursera, Udemy, and Worldreader as well as other relevant content and information that nonprofits in Greece are using to support refugee children, youth, and adults.
At this lunch-hour, “micro-volunteering" event, 60 Microsoft employees from two business groups were on hand to ensure the tablets had Microsoft Office installed, and ample hard drive space. Once confirmed and QA’d, the devices were loaded in a bin bound for Europe.
“This was an event where we could bring employees together, along with one of our top humanitarian partners, NetHope, and do something that benefits both,” said Jane Meseck, Senior Director of Global Programs at Microsoft Philanthropies. “We have over 500 devices that we’re donating to NetHope to support refugee digital literacy skills training in Greece, and we were able to bring volunteers together to get the devices ready.”
For every hour of employee volunteer time logged, Microsoft commits to donating $25 to the corresponding charity – in this case, NetHope. Employee volunteers worked swiftly, configuring the devices in just two hours.
“NetHope is inspired every day by Microsoft's commitment to humanitarian response and refugee education,” said Frank Schott, Vice President of Global Programs for NetHope. “Microsoft understands that information is aid and that access to information is a basic human right. This corporate commitment is mirrored by the generous actions of its employees.”
NetHope, which brings together critical NGO and technology partners, is a “very skillful puzzle builder,” said Meseck. “We have this mutual objective to support refugees and their livelihoods, and we’re able to come together to really deliver something meaningful,” she added. “I think NetHope plays such a key role in pulling that all together.”
If this story inspires you and you would like to invest in NetHope’s work supporting refugees, we welcome your donation.