Having encountered many refugees in Luxembourg and abroad, Isabelle and Patrick have seen a high number of competent refugees arriving, motivated to make use of their skills in order to contribute positively to their new homes. Yet, the lack of access to digital equipment, the various language barriers and the foreign cultural environment in Luxembourg presented yet another series of obstacles to be met in the integration process of the refugees.
At the end of the year 2015, Patrick and Isabelle decided to take action. On his own initiative, Patrick started gathering privately computers in order to donate them to refugees. In some cases, he also provided them with internet access at home. Isabelle organised and coordinated the access and distribution of private computers for refugees and provided support for various administrative procedures online.
The demand for access to digital equipment among the refugees was so strong, that in February 2016 we founded Digital Inclusion asbl. Yet, we believe that Digital Inclusion should not be limited to refugees only, but include all vulnerable people living in Luxembourg.
Since summer 2016, Digital Inclusion is supported by the Œuvre Nationale de Secours Grande-Duchesse Charlotte as one of the mateneen projects. This allowed us to cover our material costs and to hire two employees, a project manager and an IT technician. We are partners with Hariko , in the Hariko building we have an office (cf. photo above) along with a class room, storage and our makerspace. We received additional support of the US Embassy in Luxembourg, funding additional spare parts for our computer recycling program.