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Digital Inclusion

A passion for inclusion

Supporting a tech school for refugees in Germany

We meet Anne Kjaer Bathel, founder and managing director of ReDI, a tech school for refugees in Germany. She has been working with Capgemini employees to expand the digital skills training offered at ReDI.

The story that led to the ReDI school

“My passion and my ideals originate 100 years ago,” says Anne, founder and managing director of ReDI. “In the 1920s, my great-grandfather was a pacifist in Germany who printed anti-war material. After being imprisoned, he was forced to flee to Denmark as a refugee. In some respects, I’m only here because the people of Denmark gave my family the chance to live in peace, and the opportunity to work.”

Understanding Anne’s life story offers a clue as to why, when she visited a refugee camp in Berlin in 2015, she felt compelled to act. 

“In 2015, I met a man called Mohammed who had a degree in computer science from Baghdad University and wanted to work in Germany – but was worried he would lose his skills because he didn’t have access to a laptop,” explains Anne. “I asked a friend to train Mohamed and provide him with a computer. I realized these people were in the same position as my family two generations ago. And that’s when I asked myself at the time: With 1.2 million refugees arriving in Europe, how can I repay the kindness shown to my great-grandfather? Rather than just ‘giving a man a fish because he’s hungry,’ as the old proverb goes, I knew I wanted to ‘teach him to fish’ instead.”

That same evening, Anne put a post on Facebook and received 30 offers of help – everything from room space to equipment. This was how ReDI came into being. Since then, it has grown into a tech school where marginalized people can learn the hard and soft skills required to get a job in technology. This year alone will see 2,000 students participate in courses at ReDI. “We measure our success by the percentage of people finding a job afterwards,” says Anne. “Of our graduates, 50% go on to get jobs in the tech industry, with 25% finding other forms of employment.”

A winning relationship

“One of the main reasons for the school’s success rate is that all teachers are volunteers from the tech industry, and that’s where Capgemini has been so incredibly helpful,” says Anne. Indeed, since 2016, Capgemini employees have volunteered as course tutors, and the company has offered visits and internships to the students. In fact, some graduates have even joined Capgemini.

“Volunteers always say, I came here to give something back, but I left with something more,” says Anne. “They get a renewed sense of perspective, and gain a fresh appreciation for their own lives.”

The social academy

This initiative is run by around 30 technology companies with a presence in Berlin and Munich, over one week each year, with the aim of empowering and upskilling non-profit organizations on a pro bono basis.

This year’s Social Academy event offered another opportunity for Capgemini to help. 76 online seminars and one-to-one classes were held, covering topics like online fundraising, internal communications, mobile videography, and the GDPR and contract law.

“As well as installing a digital studio and holding virtual career sessions for our students, Capgemini was able to support our Salesforce implementation, which will be enormously important as we expand,” says Anne. “We are planning an online presence so students in any location can participate, which would be incredible for displaced people worldwide.”

“I come from a very idealistic family, and grew up believing you need to create the society you want to be part of,” says Anne. “I would like to thank Capgemini for actively working towards this through its long-term commitment to digital inclusion. Capgemini understands that it makes sense as a business, and I hope more organizations will follow its example.”

Supporting the community through technology in Germany

Our German colleagues bring their technology expertise to multiple initiatives to support the community around them.

Online volunteer mentoring

More than 60 Capgemini colleagues in Germany have been helping refugees to gain new skills through one-to-one tuition on CVs and careers, with a strengths and development plan for participants.

    Cyber mentoring for schoolgirls

    Each year, female Capgemini colleagues work with schoolgirls between the age of 14–18 through the CyberMentor platform to act as role models and mentors while providing careers guidance.

      Virtual hackathons

      Capgemini colleagues participate regularly as hackers and judges in virtual hackathons that aim to solve social problems and generate technology solutions, while connecting the tech community with NGOs and politicians.

        Virtual strategy workshops for NGOs

        As part of a virtual volunteering day in Germany, We have supported NGOs by giving their employees virtual strategy workshops on topics such as online fundraising and virtual collaboration.

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