Saskatoon’s Global Gathering Place providing tablets and Wi-Fi to refugees

Dehab, a young refugee woman who came to Saskatoon alone, joins an online women’s group for the first time after receiving a tablet and training. Courtesy: Global Gathering Place

Technology has been a useful way to communicate while physically distancing during the novel coronavirus outbreak.

However, some people have barriers to technology, including those new to Canada.

Global Gathering Place (GGP) has started a tablet lending program to ensure refugees have a way to communicate and transition into life in Canada.

$15,500 is being used to buy tablets and provide Wi-Fi for refugee families.

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GGP received funding through the Cameco’s COVID-19 relief fund and the University of Saskatchewan College of Medicine’s division of social accountability’s community reciprocity fund.

GGP offers many group programs for families new to Canada and most are now taught virtually.

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There is a large learning curve for families receiving tablets. Many don’t speak English and are new to technology, but the program has been successful so far.

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“We have the enormous benefit of having extremely motivated students and extremely motivated teachers,” said GGP refugee and case coordination manager Lori Steward.

“When you bring those two groups together and they are absolutely determined to make things work, we find that they do work.”

The first tablets have been given to refugee families from Sudan, Eritrea, Syria, and Bhutan. About 30 families are expected to receive them.

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