Casey Myers is the founder and executive director of One Digital World, a non-profit dedicated to increasing Internet access and digital literacy skills to refugees in camps around the world. Though One Digital World was founded this past year, Casey’s experience with refugees began many years ago.
After leaving her job in education, she decided to travel around the world for one year, where she discovered Europe’s refugee crisis first hand. To get around during her travels, she regularly used a European ride share service. One of the drivers told Casey how she had driven for a family who hopped in her car directly off a boat from Liberia. “I had never heard anything like that,” Casey says. And it made a big impression on her. The next stop for Casey in her travels was Cambodia, where she got an in-depth look at the atrocities of the Killing Fields. She started researching first-hand accounts from refugees and learned of their journeys and success stories in the United States. “No one should have to go through this,” she thought. “Whatever I could do to get involved, I wanted to help.”
Casey spent the rest of her time working in Greek refugee camps, where she started several education programs. Just this past March, Casey founded One Digital World. Working exclusively with refugees outside the U.S., the non-profit is currently setting up a workshop in Tijuana, Mexico while actively reaching out to several countries in the Middle East and Africa. “Our goal is to provide access to education by setting up computers in refugee camps along with providing basic computer literacy skills in order to teach refugees how to build their skill sets to leave the camps,” Casey says. These include teaching basic computer literacy and GED English courses. One Digital World’s flagship program is their digital literacy program, but the non-profit also teaches refugees the basics, including how to turn on a computer. “The most rewarding aspect is being able to see the refugees build confidence for employment,” Casey says.
But the rewards don’t come without challenges. Casey admits it can get frustrating seeing refugees struggle with time constraints and mental blocks. She says this is why it is important to make these programs a priority for refugees, who are often left “twiddling their thumbs” in the camps, ruminating on the horrible situations they’ve come from. “Our number one goal every day is to get people to show up,” she says. This comes with allowing refugees to be comfortable in a classroom setting without pushing people away. This is why Casey focuses on community building and providing a welcoming safe space for all who come to lessons. And for the future? “I would love to see less camps, less refugees. I would love to be able to work myself out of a job,” she says.
To learn more about Casey’s work, please visit www.onedigitalworld.net.