Can Laptops Protect Young Lives?

A partner in Tanzania opens the first six of 30 laptops that will be sent for use by refugee youth, as part of an educational initiative from Tent Schools International

Laptop computers are small, compact and powerful.

At the request of our Tanzanian partner, Tent Schools International (TSI) recently granted 30 laptops to a computer training lab serving refugees from Burundi through its LEAP program. We are happy to announce the arrival of the first six laptops at our partner’s center in the city of Arusha!

These computers are more valuable than they may appear. They are central to our partner’s plans to confront the radicalization of youth into the arms of extremist groups.

How is it possible that common laptops can be tools for protecting these young lives?

The simple answer is that, through access to technology, these young people will acquire marketable skills to compete in the world where digital competencies are prerequisites for employment, and a gateway to life beyond the refugee camp.

A second important answer is found in this quote from Countering Violent Extremism: A Peer-to-Peer Guide, produced for the Kofi Annan Foundation’s “Extremely Together” project:

“Actions to counter radicalization need to create conditions for peace and stability and address the grievances of young people who are on the path to radicalization.”

These “conditions for peace and stability” are built into these computer labs, where relationships between instructor and trainee are forged. Relationships lead to trust, and trust opens the flood gates for sharing their life stories, their hurts, and everything that brought them to this place far from home.

Here is our question for you: will you join us in facilitating relationships and providing career training through these computer labs? Here’s how it works – in order to outfit each lab with laptop computers, Tent Schools International donates the laptops, while our partners cover taxes and customs fees.

Where do you come in? We are asking if you would be willing to donate the shipping cost on each computer, from the USA to our partner countries. Sending a laptop costs between $50 and $250, depending on the destination country.

For your contribution of any amount, you will know that a young person experiencing displacement is learning marketable skills, building relationships and learning how to stand up against attempts by extremist recruiters. You will receive our thanks, and follow-up reports on the impact of your contribution.

And here’s the best part! Because our partners are Christians, the relationships they build with trainees become opportunities to share the gospel of peace, love and compassion, countering the hate and violence-prone doctrines of extremists.

We urge you to hold these computer labs and trainers up in prayer and, most importantly, the young people reached through these training programs, that they may come to know that Jesus is the source for peace and stability in whatever state they find themselves.

We earnestly seek your support in helping us get these laptops where they are so needed and appreciated! We can’t do this without you.

Serving with you and Him,

Dale Dieleman
Vice President for Tent Schools International


P.S. If you would like to watch Countering Violent Extremism, a Peer-to-Peer Guide, visit extremelytogether-theguide.org. This highly-recommended guide provides talking points and local activities you can adapt for your church, school or with friends, and is helpful in understanding the causes for and prevention of disenfranchised youth in our own country from choosing a path toward joining a radical group.