Logo of Kiron Higher Education

June 19-20 2020

Virtual Refugee Conference

Online Communities Supporting Refugee Youth Higher Education External link icon

Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, Syria, Turkey, USA

VIP.fund is a youth-focused philanthropy fund empowering young people impacted by conflict through education and employment. We run e-learning programs, crowdfund for college, and partner with organizations that further student employment prospects. edSeed started in 2016 and is an innovation recognized by MITSOLVE as ‘tackling discrepancy’ and filling a gap current solutions don’t address, creating crowdfunding campaigns as easy as the Instagram post, leveraging familiarity to engage donors. The donor selects student profiles and donations go to the university account. Our platform trains students to create personal campaigns. Our co-project, Syria Digital Lab, brings Syrians together by creating an effective digital ecosystem that identifies, incubates, and sustains original initiatives. We connect Syrian tech developers and entrepreneurs and link them with mentors, donors, civil society groups, and the private sector to help solve some of Syria’s challenges. We are committed to focusing on how current issues will affect the developing world. The effect of Covid-19 among the displaced is expected to be more severe than expected, and unless we intervene, we can expect spillover effects that will impact both students and host countries; we hope to rewrite the rules of educational intervention in order to help students whose communities may not be in a position to help. Thus, we have launched a peer-to-peer online mentoring program to support our scholars locked down in camps with little access to Wi-Fi and only their phones as hardware. We are also researching e-learning partnerships with colleges so our scholars can continue studying if their schools remain closed without virtual learning. Failing to intervene will create a spillover effect more expensive than the action we can take. The consequences of the pandemic on vulnerable populations will amplify the same risks that many countries are facing right now: mass migration, poverty, radicalization, despair.