Jonathan's story: from disconnected to connected with the world

From an asylum seeker with no internet access to now a volunteer at Network member Learn for Life, Jonathan's life has been transformed with access to free data and a device.

Isolated, frustrated and sad

Jonathan is a Spanish speaking asylum seeker who arrived in the UK with no material belongings besides some clothes.

He was unable to work while seeking asylum and couldn't afford a device or even the internet. He struggled to complete online tasks like filling out important applications and paying rent. As an asylum seeker, he was given a small allowance, but not enough to afford internet alongside basic necessities like groceries. 

Jonathan wanted to connect with his family and the world, but he also wanted to be able to eat and keep his shelter. It was a struggle for him to feel independent or fit into society without being connected.

“I felt isolated. I felt frustrated and sad. I didn’t have any friends or family here.”

That’s why the digital inclusion support he received from digital inclusion hub, Learn for Life, was life changing for Jonathan. 

A turning point: access to free data and device 

Jonathan got access to free mobile data and a laptop at Learn For Life, gifted from the National Databank and National Device Bank. A world of knowledge, opportunity and connection was now only a tap away - whereas before it felt like a world away.

He was able to build on his education by accessing resources outside of in-person classes as well as improve his English language skills. He could save money by speaking with his family in another country using the mobile data.

“The support from Learn for Life is a huge blessing – having the internet from the National Databank and a laptop from the National Device Bank means I can eat and afford my other amenities without worrying about internet costs for the month. I can feel better knowing I can speak to my family about it without worrying about distance and costs.


“My life is better now because I can connect with the world and with reality. I can do everything online now.”


Helping other people 

Jonathan was frustrated and felt really bad when he was digitally excluded. But thanks to the support he received, Jonathan became eager and inspired to help others with his new developed digital skills and capabilities. He helps people who are in the position he was in when we first came to the UK do things online like apply for jobs, contact the GP, fill in taxes and more.

The support has significantly improved his life, as well as those around him, too. He continues the cycles of support, from the support he received, to giving to those who need it, who in turn can help others when they advance to Jonathan’s position.

“To be connected is really important. Being connected means you can do anything from anywhere.”