Microsoft, Russia, UN help refugees

Good old Microsoft.

Hundreds of refugees and asylum seekers here are flocking to a local community center where they can develop IT skills and obtain information to help improve their lives. In April, the International Red Cross and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), in partnership with Microsoft, opened the first Community Technology Learning Center (CTLC) focused on the special needs of refugees.

The St. Petersburg center is expected to serve an estimated 4,000 refugees from Afghanistan and Africa, along with hundreds of Russian residents with disabilities. The center offers IT skills development, hardware and software training, and other guidance to help participants learn how to use technology.

Support for the St. Petersburg center comes from Microsoft Unlimited Potential, a worldwide initiative designed to aid global work-force development by providing technology-skills training through Community Technology Learning Centers. The St. Petersburg center is one of more than 300 such facilities across Europe, the Middle East, and Africa that are supported by Microsoft.

"Access to education is critical in helping underserved individuals and communities participate fully in society and realize their goals," says Teresa Davis, regional Community Affairs lead for Microsoft's Eastern European headquarters. "The CTLC supports the efforts carried out by local authorities, immigration services, and the [St. Petersburg] Labor and Social Security Committee, all of whom encouraged the initiative to promote digital inclusion, tolerance, and human-rights themes."

View: Press Release

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