The impact of digital education in humanitarian contexts


The impact of digital education  in humanitarian contexts

ProFuturo provides accompaniment, equipment and digital education to promote future opportunities for refugee children. Teaching the benefits of technology can help them address challenges, bridge education gaps and empower children towards an equitable future away from emergency contexts.

In a world where forced mobility still exists, millions of children attend makeshift schools in sometimes very precarious conditions. Access is already a challenge, so learning without the appropriate resources and materials, and in a language that is not their own, is almost mission impossible. For them, digital education stands as a beacon of hope.

Since 2017 ProFuturo, a programme promoted by Fundación Telefónica and Fundación “La Caixa” has had the Digital Education Framework in crisis contexts. A holistic approach aligned with the principles of the Interagency Network for Education in Emergency Situations (INEE) to promote access to quality comprehensive education for children who have had to be forcibly displaced and who are in a situation of refuge. For them, we seek to reduce educational gaps through digital education, and with didactic and innovative teaching methodologies that can be adapted to their situation and improve their learning.

The reality of children in these contexts

UNHCR reveals that, by the end of September 2023, 114 million people have been forcibly displaced, almost half of them children. Refugee children face different challenges when it comes to accessing quality education on equal terms with other children. They may miss months or even years of school in their displacement, have to learn new languages to go to school and take their exams, are unfamiliar with administrative processes, and lack documentation and school supplies. Many of them are traumatised and have special psychosocial support needs, living in contexts of poverty and insecurity, where they face issues of exploitation, stigmatisation and harmful social norms. And then there are the gender barriers that refugee girls in particular face.

Rather than focusing on barriers, ProFuturo aims to generate meaningful educational opportunities, where technology and digital transformation have been the driver of change.

10 benefits of digital education

Technology, in the hands of ProFuturo, becomes a powerful ally. More than a tool, it is a means to overcome challenges. The benefits of technology in these contexts are limitless, here are some of them.

  • Access to education: Digital education breaks down geographical barriers and facilitates access to educational opportunities for refugee children, even in remote or disadvantaged environments.
  • Flexibility in learning: It allows the pace of learning to be adapted to individual needs, offering flexibility in time and place of study, which is essential for those who are constantly on the move.
  • Inclusion and diversity: Digital education can be adapted to meet diverse needs, including cultural and linguistic differences, thus promoting inclusion and diversity.
  • Development of technological skills: By using technology, refugee children acquire valuable digital skills that are essential in today’s society and can open up future opportunities.
  • Psychosocial support: Psychosocially designed digital tools can help children overcome trauma by providing a learning environment that promotes mental health and emotional well-being.
  • Connectivity with the outside world: Digital education facilitates connection to global educational resources, allowing refugee children to stay abreast of new developments and access knowledge from diverse cultures.
  • Preparation for future employment: Developing digital competencies through digital education prepares refugee children for future challenges and provides them with relevant skills for the labour market.
  • Reducing educational gaps: By providing more equitable access to education, technology contributes to closing educational gaps between refugee children and their peers who do not face displacement.
  • Global collaboration: Digital education fosters collaboration between students from different parts of the world, promoting intercultural understanding and building bridges of friendship and mutual support.
  • Autonomy and empowerment: It enables refugee children to take control of their learning, fostering autonomy and empowerment, key elements in overcoming the challenges they face.

ProFuturo’s barrier-breaking partnerships 

The foundation is active in emergency contexts in cooperation with partners such as UNHCR, International Rescue Committee (IRC), Entreculturas, Save the Children, KAYANY Foundation, American University of Beirut. These partnerships have allowed us to work on activities such as building ICT classrooms with digital resources, safe learning spaces with psychosocial support, teacher training and coaching, and even campaigns to raise awareness about education and the payment of school fees and examination fees for students. 

This year, we had the honour of participating in the first Spain #WithRefugees Forum, organised by UNHCR in collaboration with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation. The main purpose of this event was to mobilise Spanish society to support the inclusion and integration of refugees. At this meeting, Leticia de Rato Salazar-Simpson, our Manager of Global Alliances and Institutional Relations at ProFuturo, represented the organization on the International Cooperation panel. During her speech, she highlighted the importance of digital education in the future of all children in the world, with special emphasis on those who have been forced to flee their homes.

Between this, our most recent involvement, and the work we have done in these countries over the years, we have been strengthening our collective commitment to building a more accessible and equitable educational future for all these children.

Educational transformation in refugee contexts is not just a dream, but a reality under construction. We will continue to work to improve education and transform the world for the youngest children who have been displaced from their homes, with the ultimate goal of changing their reality and opening a door to the opportunities offered by quality digital education.

The spark of educational hope is lit, for them and for equal opportunities with the children of the world!


Do you want to know more about ProFuturo’s commitment to education?

Further information available at:

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