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Hack for Good at the TechFugees Australia Hackathon

By Joanne Jacobs

By any measure, the number of people seeking refuge around the world has reached crisis proportions. Locally, those who are able to successfully navigate the complex requirements to gain refugee status in Australia, struggle to gain a foothold in a foreign land.

Techfugees Australia is the tech community’s response to this crisis involving a network of concerned individuals who want to help refugees settle happily and more quickly into the Australian community.

Techfugees Australia is part of a global movement that started in late 2015 with dozens of hackathon events now held around the world. In Australia, two events have been held, the first in Sydney (November 2015) and then in Melbourne (April 2016). Many of the solutions developed through these events are now operating as tech startups in their own right.

The next Techfugees hackathon will focus specifically on hacking the challenges faced by young people (16 to 24). Of course if you’re older than that we’re still keen for you to participate!

If you have wanted to experience a hackathon first hand but have not yet jumped in, this may be your chance to use your skills, capabilities and experience to make a difference in the lives of young refugees.

Themes for the Hack will include:

  • Safety and well-being
  • Learning the language
  • Community connections
  • Recognition for prior qualifications
  • Employment
  • Identity and belonging
  • Knowledge of support services.

These are very serious and important topics and to ensure we have lots of fun, we will also award a prize for the Hack that makes Sydney more Awesome for Young Refugees, thanks to support from the Awesome Foundation Sydney.

Refugees especially young refugees who have already settled in Australia will participate in the event to help teams deeply understand problems and challenges faced by new arrivals. Leaders from the Tech Community will mentor teams through the weekend. On Sunday afternoon, teams will pitch their solutions to a Judging Panel of Tech and Community Leaders.

Held on Saturday/Sunday, 5-6 November 2016, the event is supported by City of Parramatta Council and will be in Parramatta, Western Sydney because this is where most refugees settle. There is no cost to participate and wonderful food and snacks will be available all weekend.

You can register here.


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