The notion that technology access and literacy was a challenge for Albuquerque refugee families didn't exactly come as a surprise with the advent of COVID-19, according to Sarah Azibo, program coordinator for Catholic Charities of New Mexico's refugee support.
In fact, digital literacy has been on the nonprofit's priority list for some time. Earlier this year, Russol Abdelfatah, a Catholic Charities bilingual community liaison with a background in information technology, headed up a tech skills class for a group of refugee women. The 13 participants met in a computer lab at HELP New Mexico to learn computer skills.
But when the pandemic struck and everything went remote, Azibo said, the class went from 13 to about three, "because those were the only three who had internet and a computer to use," Azibo said.
"We already knew this was a barrier and a challenge for families," she said. "But our awareness was heightened."