Breaking Barriers: Students Helps Refugee Classmates Adjust to School Life in Greece

on March 7, 2018
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Primary school students win coding contest by developing an app that promotes inclusive classroom environment

In Serres, a city of northern Greece, Samsung Electronics is empowering young people to contribute positively to society through the use of digital technologies.


Among them is a group of students at the 13th Primary School attended by both local Greek children as well as approximately 30 refugee boys and girls. Through the students’ creation of an app, they are learning to better engage with one another, despite language barriers.



Breaking Barriers Through Technology

Since 2015, immigration influx towards European countries, especially arrivals of refugees by sea to the borders of Greece, was increased dramatically mainly due to the ongoing Syrian Civil War. There were more than 856,000 arrivals by sea in Greece, an almost fivefold increase to the same period of 2014*. An estimated 8% of the arrivals applied for asylum in Greece, with others hoping to find asylum in Northern European countries. Refugees’ children go to public schools and try to learn the Greek language.


Knowing that these children might feel isolated in a place where they cannot speak the local language, the students of the 13th Primary School of Serres decided to keep their refugee classmates in mind when it came time to create their project for a coding competition hosted by Samsung Electronics Hellas and the British Council.


Using the tools of their school’s Smart Classroom, the students incorporated Kurdish and Arabic translation features to ”Help Friend”, an app that they developed to help assess students’ emotions and improve communication between students and educators. In doing so, the children aimed to promote inclusivity among the student body, and help non-Greek students feel closer and more connected to their classmates.


For their efforts, the participating students were awarded first place in the competition. But more importantly, they were empowered by being able to use their imagination and creativity to make positive contributions to their school and address issues that they had directly encountered.



Nurturing the Minds of Today’s Youth for a Better Tomorrow

Working with local governments, members of academic community and non-profit organizations around the globe, Samsung has established numerous programs – like the Smart Classrooms and the Coding Competition in Greece – designed to equip the world’s youth with the knowledge and skills they need to advance personally and professionally.


From establishing Digital classrooms in rural communities to engaging students in hands-on STEAM learning, Samsung hopes to enable every member of the global community to reach their full potential and take the initiative to pioneer innovations that will help solve the social issues of today and tomorrow.


To learn more about the students of the 13th Primary School of Serres and their efforts to create a more inclusive school environment through technology, watch the video below.



* Source: <Refugees/Migrants Emergency Response – Mediterranean, Greece> (UNHCR, February 13, 2016). Retrieved February 20, 2016

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