Coding for migrant children: A pilot project from Les Voyageurs du Code and the Association Hors la Rue, France

Lucie, one of several EU Code Week Ambassadors for France, brings us a story about teaching coding to migrant children:

The Association Hors la Rue, in Paris Montreuil, provides support to migrant children facing a life in the street. This summer they organized a pilot coding workshop project together with Les Voyageurs du Code.

Les Voyageurs du Code is a coding and digital literacy program led by the NGO Bibliothèques Sans Frontières, providing free initiation and training workshops for all. It aims at giving people a taste for coding and understanding how computers and the web work. Created in Spring 2014, Les Voyageurs du Code works closely with many libraries, social centres, migrants associations and after-school support associations.

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Here is a report of this unique coding experience:

There are new faces. Drama, Mohamed, Jenny and Alexandra just arrived. They are migrants, under 18, coming from Romania, Congo or Pakistan. Ana, Maria and Julian from Hors La Rue support the participants to get familiar with the computer and the different tasks. Alexandru, a volunteer from Romania, helps Alexandra to find her home town on Google Maps. She is 17 and dreams about working with kids and seniors.

Teaching Scratch or Block to this specific audience is a challenge for the moderator. While some of them are already familiar with Facebook and login as soon as they can, others discover how to use a mouse, a keyboard or a search engine for the first time. But all of them are here, together, ready to take part in this pilot project to learn the basics of coding.

After three sessions, the organisational Team agrees: teaching to this specific group needs to reconsider the usual learning approach and methodology. The sessions must be adjusted to their levels, their individual backgrounds and current situation. Their understanding of time, task completion and learning process is not the usual one the Team used to deal with.

But the eagerness to learn coding is here! Jenny, who came here for the first time, asked at the end of the session when the next one will take place.

This pilot project will be renewed, turning into a regular program organized in close partnership with social workers so it fits better to the need of migrant children.

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And we can’t wait to hear more about how the project evolves and what the participants will create with their new digital skills!