Learning Cloud Hubs set up by children who grew up in refugee camps; leading development in their country.

Growing up in a Refugee Camp

So you have been wondering  how it is possible that children who grew up in dire situations could possibly be leading change in their country. The natural deductions that are made are usually that these children would have been ravaged by a war, not of their own making, would have their lives n disrupted and ruined for ever. However, these group of 200 children have a different story to tell!

In these camps, once winter had passed and snowmen built they had nothing to do other than play around and pull pranks on the neighbours in the tents; then make a dash for it so they would not get caught. They did not have to worry about food and water because it was provided by these large tanks that drew up raising the desert sand into a cloud. However, they had nothing else and boredom began to set in.

Finally, out of curiosity and something to do, they visited a home where some volunteers had set up fun learning labs using tablets and computers. It was fascinating to work with them and play games. There were no limitations and only some basic s rules around the care of the equipment; otherwise you could dream up any future you wanted. And that is exactly what these children did.

At home in a 'Cloud!'
At home in a ‘Cloud!’

What started as a game to build a new country and some fun learning scenarios around when they went back to their country, turned out to be a reality. While interviewing Raed, as he showed us around the creatively planned space he called his ‘ Dream Come True’, he kept pointing out with exuberance the finished scenarios which had been ‘dreamed’ up those 20 years ago. He picked up a globe and passed it to me with almost a gleam in his eyes; I should have been warned by that look! I was immediately in a cloud ( literally) with myriads of options I could choose from. Almost intuitively, it presented the choices I would have made; the history of the journey of the lab, the jobs that these children were all involved in, how they were linked etc.

I was impressed! Preempting my questions he touched one of the faces and I had the opportunity to see the discoveries that Zara had made. A seat which turned into a media centre for a student with everything imaginable on it. Zara asked me if I would like to try it in the lab and I looked dubiously at Raed. Could I travel through the globe he had handed me? He laughed and shook his head. ” We are still working on that. This is just a wireless connection, you know, like you used to have on phones. This is just more sophisticated and you actually feel more connected.” He did go on to explain that you could choose the physical ‘skin’ to be anything; a cloud, a coffeeshop, a theatre.

This reminded me of  the strains of a poem by the scholar Rabindernath Tagore that I had read somewhere; “Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high; Where knowledge is free”. I forget how it ended but it did talk about a country awakening into a freedom. As my tour finished I walked away thinking that these children had truly managed to build their own future out of the ruins of the past. Their tomorrow was here!