Google.org has announced a $5.3 million grant to NetHope in support of an effort to provide refugees in Germany, which registered more than a million asylum seekers in 2015, with easier access to information and education.
The grant will support the launch of Project Reconnect, an initiative to provide nonprofit organizations working with refugees in Germany with twenty-five thousand Chromebooks — low-cost laptops that can be set up with education and language-learning apps running in the cloud. Through the program, organizations can apply for up to five thousand Chromebooks, which can be configured and customized to meet specific needs by the nonprofits themselves. Applications for the first allocation of Chromebooks are due February 8, with the laptops to be distributed starting in March.
Last September, Google.org pledged to match donations up to €5 million ($5.5 million) in support of humanitarian relief efforts assisting refugees and migrants in Europe. In October, the search giant announced an open-source project called Crisis Info Hub, developed with the International Rescue Committee and Mercy Corps, to provide information to refugees about lodging, transportation, and medical facilities across five countries.
Once refugees find safety and shelter, wrote Google.org director Jacquelline Fuller in a blog post, they "have to learn the local language, acquire skills to work in a new country, and figure out a way to continue their studies — all in an effort to reclaim and reconnect with the lives they had before."