Techfugees is a non-profit social enterprise co-ordinating the international tech community’s response to the needs of refugees fleeing war, famine and persecution.
TechCrunch editor Mike Butcher MBE, kickstarted the project with a one-day conference in London, hoping to generate tech solutions that could directly help refugees. Support was huge with money, time and skills freely given by the tech community. Techfugees has since grown to 11,000 members, joined up with the Digital Humanitarian Network and is now a truly global movement.
Politically independent, Techfugees brings together tech entrepreneurs and engineers with NGOs and agencies to workshop ideas and solutions through a series of conferences and hackathons. It focuses on grassroots innovation and delivering ‘real tech for real refugees’, consulting closely with agencies on the ground to test and deploy any tech solution.
Successes include bringing WiFi to the refugee camp in Calais, enabling displaced people to contact embassies, loved ones and charities. GeeCycle.org is a platform enabling people to donate their old mobile device to a refugee.
New initiative Basefugees is a web-based, open source platform that matches technology solutions to NGO 'challenges' with the aim of solving real-world problems faced by refugees. These precise solutions will undoubtedly positively impact the lives of refugees, and it is evident that this collaborative, transparent methodology is already changing society for the better.
“We must create real tech for real refugees," says Mike Butcher. "Not fake tech to jump on some stupid bandwagon. The lives of refugees are far too important to be trifled with.”