Harnessing the power of the tech community to help refugees
Organisation URL: www.techfugees.com
The refugee crisis in Europe has torn apart families and left countless people stranded without a roof over their head. Food, water, clothing and shelter are all desperately needed, and one non-profit, Techfugees, is looking to help. Made up of volunteers from the tech community, it aims to use their know-how and the huge reach of social media to ease the suffering of those fleeing from war, famine and persecution.
Founder Mike Butcher understands there’s no magic wand that can be waved to solve the issue, and no app is going to resolve a crisis, but technology may be able to help reunite lost families, spread awareness of human rights, and help those who need it most.
Over 700 people have signed up for conferences throughout the year that will develop ideas using technology, and the work has already begun. In Britain, £5,000 was raised by Techfugees to bring WiFi to the massive refugee camp in Calais, France – enabling displaced people to contact embassies, loved ones and charities. Techfugees has also set up GeeCycle.org – enabling anyone to donate their old mobile device to a refugee who might need it.
Through joining up with the Digital Humanitarian Network and the Canadian ‘Peace Geeks’, awareness is gaining speed and Techfugees hopes that many more will contribute their skills and ideas to ease the suffering of millions across the planet. Even if you’re not a developer, you can help financially with their GoFundMe program.
But there’s still more work to be done, and Techfugees is looking for contributors, specialists and developers who can join their ‘hackpad’ to contribute their spare time and knowledge, culminating in a hack-a-thon where hundreds of volunteers will come together to develop platforms, apps and organisational solutions to problems around the world.
Image 'Syrian Refugee' courtesy of Benjim Ahmad.
Last updated: 25th of September, 2015