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A partnership between Tent Schools International (TSI) and the African Resource Center is supplying laptops to re-settled students in Grand Rapids, Michigan through TSI’s LEAP program, expanding learning opportunities for 25 students so far.
“The laptop partnership with TSI has opened up a great opportunity for us to address a problem in our community: apathy toward education among our teens who came to the U.S. as refugees,” said Bernard Ayoola, Executive Director for the Center. “They have their challenges, but we are alarmed that a percentage of them are graduating from high school with GPAs below 2.2.”
The African Resource Center fosters healthy communities by connecting Africans with one another and with the different ethnic, vocational and religious communities in West Michigan, and by equipping African immigrants with the skills to be interdependent and self-reliant.
Through LEAP, Tent Schools International provides access to affordable laptops for re-settled refugee youth. So far, LEAP has sent 38 laptops to the Center, and more to partner organizations serving displaced students in Nepal, Jordan and Tanzania.
TSI supporters or partner organizations can purchase laptops for a refugee student for as little as $50. This fee is used to cover LEAP program costs.
DIRECT PROGRAM IMPACT
“Before we started the laptop project, we would pick up students and bring them to the Center for tutoring,” Ayoola said. “With my small office, we had a very limited number of students whom we could admit into our program.”
Now, Center staff and volunteers have eliminated the need to bring students to the Center each week due to their ability to work on assignments from home on their laptops. Staff have also been able to get parents involved in managing their child’s study times.
“Now we have 25 students enrolled in the tutoring program, and we are aiming for 50 before June,” Ayoola said.
He is enthusiastic about the future of the program, stating that students have answered over 27,000 questions online for Math and English in three months.
“That’s over 1,000 questions per student this semester! The laptop project is God-sent,” Ayoola said.