Australia has hosted its first ever “Techfugees” hackathon to develop creative tech solutions for refugee settlement in Australia.
The event, which took place throughout the weekend in Liverpool Library and finished on Sunday evening, gathered around 150 people including computer programmers, developers, entrepreneurs, members of non-government organisation as well as refugees who had already settled in Australia.
The not-for-profit event was organised by Anne-Marie Elias from chiefdisrupter.com, muru-D’s Annie Parker and LanzaTech’s Nicole Williamson.
The main themes of the weekend hackathon included language acquisition, housing support, employment, vocational education pathways and oversees qualifications recognition.
Secretary-General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon recently called on prime minister Malcolm Turnbull to review Australia’s existing asylum seeker policy including “conditions in Australia’s offshore processing centres” and border controls after it was revealed that a suspected asylum seeker boat was turned away by members of the Royal Australian Navy last week.
Earlier in September, the federal government announced a one-off intake of 12,000 refugees who are fleeing from conflict in both Syria and Iraq with the promise of permanent resettlement to those accepted.
The first family of Syrian refugees arrived in Australia two weeks ago with more expected to arrive in December.
The event follows the recent success of the “Techfugees” hackathon which took place earlier last month in London — gathering some of the leading tech experts, engineers, entrepreneurs and startups to develop tech solutions and products that would help refugees amid the growing crisis in Europe.
Here were some of the ideas which came out of the two-day hackathon.
OurTable: An online platform which allows settlers to connect with members of their community through shared food experiences.
ArrivalHub: An application that sources and curates local businesses to tailor journeys for new Australians.
Connex: An accessible social networking platform for English language learners.
SATO: Your personal interpreter with instant translations of documents by taking photos.
*UPDATE: Goalify has since been announced as the winner of the hackathon, with OurTable coming in as runner up and ArrivalHub taking out third place. Business Insider has reached out to the organisers of the Techfugees hackathon and are waiting to hear back. Watch this space.