[hackerspaces] Refugee Memberships...

William Macfarlane wmacfarl at gmail.com
Wed Dec 2 20:47:39 CET 2015

I think that if a hackerspace is offering itself as a resource to refugees,
or in fact recent immigrants of any kind, that the primary resource it will
be providing is social -- the possibility to connect with friendly locals
who might have shared interests in informal ways that can help them feel at

Which might not be how the hackerspace thinks of its mission ("education"
or "democratizing technology" or "providing access" or whatever) -- but it
might still be really wonderful and helpful for someone.  A meaningful
social connection and a community-space to feel a part of are huge things
for someone newly in a strange place.

On Wed, Dec 2, 2015 at 12:24 PM, sheila miguez <shekay at pobox.com> wrote:

> On Wed, Dec 2, 2015 at 10:54 AM, Petr Baudis <pasky at ucw.cz> wrote:
>>   I guess part of the misunderstanding is the seduction of lumping
>> all "undeveloped world" together - Syria and Kenya, Paraguay and
>> Indonesia, Pakistan and Afghanistan, (South) Sudan and Nepal, ...
>> In fact, the tech situation in each of these locations is AFAIK very
>> different and their economic level may not correlate well with ih.
>> Another thing is that 10 year old anecdotes / experience with some
>> of these regions may be largely invalid today.
> His observations still stand for the amount of effort and drastically
> different expectations that will come in to play for people without
> experience who have good intentions.
> As I mentioned upthread, I volunteered some small amount of time with an
> organization in Chicago to tutor a brother and sister and also teach a
> class in "computers" to kids. They were from Somalia.
> I wasn't a great volunteer. For example, for the class I didn't realize
> that the goal was not to teach programming to kids but to teach
> keyboarding, mousing, word processing (all valuable, and not what I
> expected). And in cultural and language ignorance, I ended up calling an
> ambulance because the kids' mom was moaning in pain. I didn't know that
> people express pain in different ways, and I did not have enough vocabulary
> in common to know how bad the pain was.
> So, before attempting to help, learn how not to be worse than useless and
> how not to make expensive mistakes.
> Also, consider things beyond mere membership. it will be a waste of time
> if you don't consider transportation as just one thing. The refugee
> organization I met with had a van to give kids rides, for example.
> --
> shekay at pobox.com
> _______________________________________________
> Discuss mailing list
> Discuss at lists.hackerspaces.org
> http://lists.hackerspaces.org/mailman/listinfo/discuss

-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://lists.hackerspaces.org/pipermail/discuss/attachments/20151202/4050c683/attachment.html>

More information about the Discuss mailing list