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Techfugees: Techies connecting migrants

Nov 18, 2016 | News

(18 November 2016) – One year after its creation in London, “Techfugees” has become a global platform, bringing together some thirty local groups of computer engineers, start-ups, NGOs, associations and other specialists who develop innovative digital technologies adapted to the needs of migrants and migrant support organisations.

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© Tom Hayton

Techfugees was founded by Mike Butcher, a journalist for TechCrunch, in September 2015. At the height of the migrant crisis, Mike wondered how the entrepreneurs around him could help to find good, quickly applicable ideas to facilitate communication, knowing that contact with their family, with authorities, etc. is one of the basic needs of migrants, along with food or shelter.

A first “hackathon” (computer encoding workshop) organised in London in October 2015 mobilised more than 300 people and gave birth to practical computer application prototypes for refugees.

Other hackathons have followed in 25 countries, from New York, Sydney, Oslo, Paris to Belgrade and Amman. Lisbon, the latest city having joined the Techfugees community, held its hackathon on November 8, at the Web Summit, the largest technology conference in Europe.

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