Coding with refugees

Today I met a refugee in person for the first time during our Saturday coding sessions for kids in our office. His name is Omid. Let me put my political message first:

This guy is 16, from Afghanistan, sympathetic, eager to learn and full of joy and excitement. Those people in politics or media who want to tell me, that refugees are a threat to society should meet Omid.

Their stories are made of fear and prejudices. But this “German Angst” is popular in the U.S. as well.

Actually Omid seems to know exactly what is at stake for him. He deliberately tried to sit through a JavaScript coding workshop without German language skills that would allow him to even understand what was said.

After dealing with him for one hour my feeling is that if this guy ever becomes a criminal or even worse, it’s our fault as western society and not his. I do believe that everyone is responsible for himself. But Omid is full of good intentions and emotions. I would say that he’s even in a better shape (mindset-wise) to learn coding than some of the other German kids I see every other Saturday.

I honestly hope that Omid and the other refugees will take the chances that we offer to them. But let’s offer them something. This is not the time to tear up walls. 

I will try my best to be part of a movement that opens up chances. What will you do?

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