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Say hello to Professor Salah! Vodafone Foundation-UNHCR Instant Network Schools Ambassador surprises students in Egypt

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Say hello to Professor Salah! Vodafone Foundation-UNHCR Instant Network Schools Ambassador surprises students in Egypt

19 November 2021
Egypt. Liverpool striker Mo Salah pays a virtual visit to refugees and local children studying in a classroom
Footballer and UNHCR and Vodafone Foundation Ambassador for Instant Network Schools (INS), Mohamed Salah

Children at Al Farooq Omar school in Cairo had a special day when football star and Instant Network Schools (INS) Ambassador, Mohamed Salah, paid them a surprise virtual visit last month and shared his thoughts on why digital education is so important to their learning.

INS transforms existing classrooms into multimedia hubs for learning, complete with internet connectivity, sustainable solar power and a robust teacher training programme. The content is localised and aligned to national curriculums, which supports disadvantaged learners to study core subjects in the classroom and, crucially, increases access to opportunities for both study and future work opportunities. The programme supports over 129,000 refugee students and learners from local communities in six African countries.

The students in the INS classroom were blown away as the screen turned on and Mohamed Salah appeared. Laughs, cries and giggles filled the room as he called out the names of each of the students and interacted with them individually. The students, some were refugees and others Egyptian, asked the footballer about his childhood and his career. A young boy named Abdelrahman took his chance to ask the footballer a question about his future: “Where do you want to go after Liverpool?”, the question was met with a bright smile by Salah, who in turn asked if the student happened to be a journalist.

Speaking about education, the Premier League's leading African goal-scorer, said: “I’m always a supporter of a proper education that benefits anyone and everyone that can benefit from new information. It’s a fantastic idea. We need to be proud of something like this.”

Currently, 18 secondary schools in the greater Cairo area have launched the INS programme, and an expansion to more schools is being prepared. Approximately 18,000 students, 360 teachers and (indirectly) 54,000 members of the community in Egypt are reached. Each INS school benefits from connectivity, the establishment of a local content server and the installation of an INS classroom, including a projector, laptop, speaker system and classroom tablets.

“We are pleased to bring joy to the hearts of INS students through such an impressive virtual visit by our inspirational ambassador, Mohamed Salah, and collaborating with UNHCR and the Ministry of Education on such programme serves Vodafone Foundation’s long-standing commitment to inclusive education, which comes at the heart of our strategy and goals.” stated the Chairman of Vodafone Egypt Foundation, Eng. Mohamed Henna.

He added: "Nothing makes us happier than these priceless joyful reactions by the students, and we believe that Salah’s virtual visit will inspire and encourage them to learn and follow their passion.”

Pablo Mateo, UNHCR’s Representative to Egypt, said: "We are very proud of our long-term partnership with Vodafone Foundation, through which we have been able to provide refugee students, Egyptians and their teachers with access to digital education and the Internet, and to improve the quality of education, giving them inspiration, motivation and the opportunity to achieve a better future."

Egypt hosts some 277,000 refugees and asylum-seekers from 64 countries. Overall, more than 30 per cent of the total refugee population is of school-going age. The INS programme isoffered to refugees and locals alike, enabling all students to experience connected learning and access a quality digital education.


Notes to editors:

  • You can watch Mohamed Salah’s video here.
  • For queries on Mohamed Salah’s Instant Network Schools Ambassador role please contact Colin Kampschoer in London, [email protected], +44 7395 798527
  • For other enquiries or questions about the INS programme, please contact Reem Abdelhamid in Cairo, [email protected], +20 1286100832


Instant Network Schools

The Instant Network Schools programme was set up in 2013 by Vodafone Foundation and UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, to give young refugees, host communities and their teachers access to digital learning content and the internet, improving the quality of education in some of the most marginalised communities in Africa.

Since 2013, the INS programme has benefited over 129,000 students and 1,600 teachers, ensuring that refugees and children from the communities that host them have access to accredited, quality, and relevant learning opportunities. There are 56 Instant Network Schools currently operating in Kenya, Tanzania, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, South Sudan, Egypt and Mozambique.

Vodafone Foundation

Vodafone Foundation (UK registered charity number 1089625) believes the power of connectivity can change lives and address some of the world’s most pressing problems. Founded in 1991 with a simple mission to invest in the communities in which Vodafone operates, today the charity connects people and ideas with technology and funding, to help those already doing good work to achieve results faster, more cost effectively and with a bigger social impact. Through a strategy of Connecting for Good, Vodafone Group PLC’s philanthropic arm works in partnership with other charitable organisations and NGOs to create solutions that bring about long-term sustainable change and improve 480m lives by 2025.


UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, is a global organisation dedicated to saving lives, protecting rights and building a better future for people forced to flee their homes because of conflict and persecution. We deliver life-saving assistance such as shelter, food and water, help safeguard fundamental human rights, and develop solutions that ensure people have a safe place to call home. We work in over 130 countries, using our expertise to protect and care for millions of people.