Did you know that 87% of displaced people have access to 2 or 3G on their cellphones?* Technology as such is closely tied to the migratory experience. It allows refugees to stay in touch with their loved ones, get informed, and contributes to their independence. This is the baseline for the work of our partner, Techfugees, who has successfully connected migrants to the world of technology, with the goal of proposing solutions and digital tools that favor their integration within the companies that welcome them.
From the 2015 Refugee “Crisis” to the Creation of Techfugees’ Amazing Community
Techfugees appeared in London at the instigation of its founder, Mike Butcher, editor-in-chief of the magazine TechCruch, who, touched by the death of 3-year old Alan Kurdi, made a plea on social media in 2015. Following his call to action, a conference as well as a hackathon was organized with the following as its main theme: is the tech community capable of creating technologies that could aid in the inclusion of refugees? About 300 people came to the event, making up what would become the organization’s foundation stone.
Techfugees, which today exists in a dozen countries in the form of local chapters, is now under the direction of Joséphine Goube. It has thus become a global organization that implements the development of an ecosystem of technology solutions in response to the needs of displaced persons and refugees and aims at facilitating their inclusion in the tech industry.
This innovative organization, based both in the UK (London) and in France (Station F), brings together social entrepreneurs, tech experts, students, journalists, and investors to collaborate on and thereby create relevant solutions and tools.
Rather than bringing about technical solutions directly, the organization has chosen to coordinate and offer support as a global platform.
Innovation at the Workplace for Creating Solutions and Initiating Change on How Refugees Are Viewed by Others.
Techfugees has chosen to prioritize five main areas for its work. These are:
- Access to rights and information
In addition, Techfugees has adopted a specific way of working and getting people involved, centered around “hackathons” or “workathons” aimed at developing innovative solutions for refugees’ needs. Since 2019, Techfugees has also created an accelerated program that would permit refugees to scale up their tech projects through the Global Challenges Competition.
In creating such viable digital solutions responding to their needs and favoring their inclusion in the tech industry, Techfugees moreover offers a new way of thinking about refugees as talented men and women, contributors to society’s digital revolution.
Such pleas lie at the heart of the organization’s activities and crop up regularly at conferences as well as in the media along with a leading message: the tech industry must evolve for the better and include more refugees. The displacement of people in the world is a reality, and it is time to act and find solutions.
Spotlight on the #TF4Women Program for the Inclusion of Refugee Women
In 2019, Techfugees launched a second group of one of its flagship projects #TF4Women dedicated to helping refugee women find jobs or reestablish themselves in tech companies in France.
This six-month long program has provided participants with the opportunity to orient themselves toward the fields of development, marketing, or project management within the digital sector. They have benefited from weekly training and mentorship sessions and participated in numerous events that allowed them to meet other sector actors and build their networks.
You can be sure that Techfugees is cultivating the seeds of technology’s future for you to recruit!
* Study by UNHCR & Accenture, 2017.