We are proud to be teaming up with global website platform Weebly to empower Canadian and Syrian children to leverage technology to share stories and content from inside the Syrian conflict zone. The pilot initiative of this global effort, A Tale of Two Cities, aims to empower Syrian youth under siege with a voice that can be shared anywhere in the world.
A Tale of Two Cities trains youth ages 12-16 in Syria and abroad how to communicate safely and effectively via email and video conferencing with their peers in Canada. Ottawa students will then share those Syrian survival stories and daily struggles on websites they build themselves through the simple and intuitive Weebly platform. The ultimate goal is to use technology to raise awareness for the plight of youth under siege in Ghouta, Syria, youth that otherwise might not be heard.
The technology will also bridge a cultural gap for the Ottawa students to understand how the Syrian conflict has affected people their own age thousands of miles away. Training for the pilot campaign began in mid-July and culminates by the end of the August, 19th.
The Syrian conflict is the first protracted war to be fought on and through the internet. All actors use the internet to organize, plan, and share information; some use it to document human rights abuses and bear witness; others use it to propagandize, collect intelligence, sow fear, and win followers. To the outside world, the concept of Syrian civil society has been largely reduced to that of powerless “refugees.” SecDev Foundation and Weebly hope to put power into the voice of youth in Syria.
“It’s incredibly inspiring to see how a simple website that can be built by a 12 year old can teach them something about a culture and a conflict so far from their own reality. We’re proud of how people are using the Weebly platform to leverage change,” said Weebly spokesperson, Kim Chappell. “Whether selling bracelets made from refugee rafts to raise money on GetaZoeBand.com or taking people inside life in Calais refugee camp through the CalaisKitchen.com, it’s clear that a person with an idea and access to their own site can make a difference. We hope the work of the SecDev Foundation and Weebly will have a lasting impact for youth in both Syria and in Canada.”