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Chams: Empowering Refugees through Tech



“It was a big gamble,” Sofiane Ammar, founder of CHAMS, shared about creating an organization that provides tech education to refugees. 

Opening its first tech school in Jordan in 2019 and now expanding to more locations in the country and into East Africa, CHAMS’ goal is to train 10,000 students by 2030 and give refugees the tools and skills needed to have a brighter future.

Fondation de France was one of the founding organizations that supported CHAMS’ life-changing work, in solidarity with refugees who lack education opportunities.

CHAMS believes that education, employment, and entrepreneurship can help refugees achieve integration and citizenship. And with the surge of remote work and technology use during the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s the perfect time to advocate for inclusion of refugees in the international workforce.

The Story Behind CHAMS

Sofiane Ammar created CHAMS after visiting the Zaatari camp in Amman, Jordan, on the Syrian border.  “Once I arrived [to the camp],” he said, “I met young Syrian refugees between 16 and 25 years of age. I was surprised as they were full of curiosity…There was passion and emotion in our dialogues.”

Their curiosity reminded him of his younger self. Remembering the individuals that influenced him in his entrepreneurship and curated his inner fire to create, Sofiane Ammar felt strongly that he could help spark that passion in others.

And so, he has, providing opportunities for refugees to earn a diploma from a professional training and increasing their credibility in the tech and coding fields internationally. Refugees are finding opportunities around the world, including 2 who now work for startups in America.

Empowering Refugees through Tech - CHAMS ©CHAMS

The Future of CHAMS

In 2020, nearly 83 million people were forced to escape their homeland due to geopolitical crisis. On average, refugees live in a camp or their host country for 17 years, yet there is a profound lack of education, especially for children 16 and older. 

There is a significant need for educational programs for refugees, especially as the refugee population is only predicted to grow exponentially in the following decades. 

This year, CHAMS is launching its first year-long coding bootcamp (partnering with HOLBERTON School in the United States) after evaluating its flagship 6-month program. Considering the plight of refugees and the psychological toll that fleeing from their home takes, CHAMS has elongated the course to allow more time for refugees to adjust to the program.

In addition, CHAMS has increased the course time to incorporate soft skills techniques and English language classes, which are essential to be able to land an international or local job. 

This year-long program costs about 160k euros for 25 students (about $182,500 USD). CHAMS was able to secure 45k euros so far (over $51,300 USD), with the launch projected to begin in April 2022. 

Friends of Fondation de France is proud to offer Americans the opportunity to support organizations like CHAMS.

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