Techfugees Australia— a global movement that began in 2015 to facilitate the development of solutions aimed at helping refugees settle into the Australian community— has announced its third hackathon, which will bring refugees and the tech community together to find solutions for the refugee crisis.

Sydney Techfugees will witness developers, designers, hackers, humanitarians, entrepreneurs, startups, community members, NGO’s and refugees coming together to develop creative tech solutions for young refugee settlement. The event will be held from November 4-6 and will also curate and promote the best projects it finds, for implementation in the field.

Moved by the plight of refugees in Europe, several technology industry individuals formed a series of non-profit, voluntary “Techfugees” conferences, hackathons and work through a global network of collaborators. There are now over 15,000 members of Techfugees, demonstrating a huge desire amongst the tech community to get involved with this humanitarian crisis.

All of Techfugees work is focused on supporting the delivery of tech services and products in the following five areas (T5): providing the infrastructure for connectivity and access to the internet to refugees; providing access to education and language courses; facilitate ‘identity recognition’ issues such as diplomas, skills, etc.; providing access to essential and specialized medical care; and finally, facilitating the social, cultural and economic inclusion of refugees into host countries.

Hacker teams will develop tech solutions for refugee settlement challenges stated by their partners, Settlement Services International (SSI) and STARTTS, both not-for-profit organizations that provide settlement, psychological and counselling support for refugees to help them rebuild their lives in Australia.

After the two-day event, a prize will be awarded to the hack that makes the biggest impact to one of the identified issues. Awards include a place at Catalysr, a refugee and migrant incubator and cash prizes from the Awesome Foundation Sydney, one of the event’s major sponsors.

Leaders of the tech community will mentor teams throughout the weekend, while refugees who have recently settled in Australia, will help them understand the deep-rooted problems faced by the refugee community and get accustomed to their new home.

Violet Roumeliotis, CEO of SSI, said,

Settling as a refugee in a new country can be an overwhelming and daunting task, and we welcome any innovation that aims to combat the complex issues that the refugees we support often face. Many refugees face significant hurdles once they arrive in Australia, such as barriers to employment, education and equality, and we are excited to be a part of such an innovative approach to finding solutions.


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