Tech For Refugees to Support New Ai-Driven Education Platform from International Rescue Committee

Innovative “aprendIA” System Will Provide Personalized Learning Experiences to Crisis-Affected Communities

June 18, 2024 – San Francisco – Tech for Refugees, the philanthropic initiative from the Breakthrough Foundation established by Julia and Yuri Milner, is extending its successful partnership with the International Rescue Committee (IRC) by helping to fund the development of aprendIA, an AI-driven educational chatbot platform that delivers personalized learning experiences to crisis-affected communities.

As of 2023, an estimated 224 million children were impacted by crises worldwide, with refugee children 5 times less likely to attend school than others. Half of all out-of-school children tend to live in conflict and crisis settings, where providing access to quality education has been shown to increase knowledge, foster inclusive societies, and build skills that drive growth and prosperity. In such circumstances, technological innovation has the potential to unlock significant human progress without burdening overstretched and under-resourced services.

Utilizing the expertise of its Airbel Impact Lab, the IRC has designed aprendIA, which delivers interactive two-way learning and AI personalization to provide accessible, engaging and effective learning to children, parents and teachers. By delivering content via messaging platforms and devices like SMS and WhatsApp, which refugees often already use, with no need for expensive hardware or software, the system can be deployed rapidly, efficiently and at scale in response to different kinds of crisis.

aprendIA is designed to repurpose and deliver high-quality content in a variety of formats (including text, audio, video, gamified assessments, PDFs and more). Using AI , the platform will combine natural language processing (NLP) with the generative capabilities of AI to offer open feedback, personalized nudges and instructional ideas. The platform enables rapid deployment and continuity of learning during periods of disruption, breaks down barriers to school re-entry, and helps communities prepare for future disruptions by adapting to individualized learning needs and complementing teachers’ existing curriculum and resources.

The system is already the building block for pilot programs in Colombia, Nigeria and Bangladesh (where it enabled a virtual tool to be designed and launched in under 4 weeks). Early feedback from these prototypes have shown increased learner engagement and reduced workloads for teachers, as well as enhanced learning outcomes for children.

“I am excited for the opportunity of fast deployment of aprendIA” said Yuri Milner, founder of Tech for Refugees. “and I’m looking forward to seeing how the aprendIA platform leverages AI to help refugees access that knowledge.”

“Our partners enable the IRC’s cutting-edge research and innovation critical to delivering transformational impact to crisis-affected communities around the world,” said David Miliband, President and CEO of the IRC. “As the IRC scales technology for good – including artificial intelligence – we are grateful for support from Tech for Refugees, which will help us expand aprendIA and help parents, students and teachers in crisis zones worldwide.”

Launched in 2022 in response to the refugee crisis sparked by the war in Ukraine, Tech for Refugees has since expanded its operations globally in collaboration with some of the world’s leading tech organizations. Its partnership with the IRC has included support for the award-winning Signpost program, a community-driven information platform; as well as a joint program with the IRC and Uber, providing ride credits to address refugees’ transport needs.

About the International Rescue Committee

The International Rescue Committee (IRC) helps people whose lives have been shattered by conflict and disaster to survive, recover and rebuild. Founded in 1933, we first helped people fleeing violence and persecution in Europe find safety in the United States.

Today, we work in over 40 crisis-affected countries, bringing ingenuity, fortitude and optimism to making a lasting impact for the people we serve. We arrive at the onset of crisis and aim to stay as long as we are needed. We also help refugees and other vulnerable people integrate into their new communities across dozens of cities in Europe and the Americas.

The IRC provides health care, helps children learn, and empowers individuals and communities to become self-reliant, always with a focus on the unique needs of women and girls.

About the Breakthrough Prize Foundation

The Breakthrough Prize Foundation is a charitable foundation founded by science philanthropist and technology investor, Yuri Milner and his wife Julia, dedicated to advancing fundamental knowledge, celebrating scientific achievement, and utilizing scientific and technological innovations to improve people’s lives and inspire future generations.

The Foundation’s programs include the Breakthrough Prize, which recognizes the world’s top scientists in the fields of Life Sciences, Fundamental Physics and Mathematics; the Breakthrough Junior Challenge, an annual global video competition for students to inspire creative scientific thinking; and the Breakthrough Initiatives, a suite of science programs investigating the fundamental questions of life in the Universe.

Most recently, other philanthropic activities of Julia and Yuri Milner have included humanitarian efforts both in connection with the COVID-19 pandemic and the Ukrainian refugee crisis.

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