“I was nearly, like, to hug the computer.” Resettled refugees talk about digital technology

Auckland University of Technology (AUT) researchers Bill Doolin and Antonio Díaz Andrade’s new video shows human faces behind their social inclusion research – Chandra, Alice and Salai, resettled refugee graduates of the 2020 Trust’s Refugee Programme.

Alice: “The first time I talk to my sister, on Facebook – ‘I’m Judith here, I’m still alive.’ – I was nearly, like, to hug the computer.”

Chandra Dahal, Alice Kavira and Salai San Liansui from Bhutan, the Congo and Myanmar tell their stories. When they fled they had to leave everything – and everyone – behind for years of travel and uncertainty. They tell how digital technology and training helped them resettle in New Zealand and reconnect with their scattered families.

Each year 100 refugees take part in the Refugee Programme with over 1,250 families helped to date. It’s part of the 2020 Trust’s wider Computers in Homes digital literacy programme. Participants take part in digital skills training, and receive recycled computers, ongoing technical support and a subsidised internet connection.

The AUT research identified five digital technology enabled capabilities that help refugees become independent, interact with and function in NZ society; have increased continuity with the past and increased sense of belonging; and achieve well-being with less stress and less social isolation. Digital skills and technology help them

  • participate in an information society
  • communicate effectively
  • understand a new society
  • be socially connected and
  • express a cultural identity.

AUT’s Bill Doolin sums up: “It’s about people doing things for themselves. … All these things make resettlement of refugees in a new host society a lot more than just survival. It about being able to live these full and rich lives

More information

ICT aids social inclusion in 5 ways – AUT research on refugees – summarises the research

2020 Trust’s Refugee Programme – how it works

2020 Trust videos on YouTube – Refugee Programme videos

“Nobody is ever just a refugee” – Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s powerful speech on the global migrant crisis

Chandra Dahal is now employed by Red Cross and is seen here at Nelson airport with the welcome team, August 2016
Chandra Dahal is now employed by Red Cross and is seen here at Nelson airport with the welcome team, August 2016
Chandra Dahal at the airport welcoming the latest new Refugee families to Nelson August 2016.
Chandra Dahal at the airport welcoming the latest new Refugee families to Nelson August 2016.