We’re back in Istanbul, with an new incredible team joining the family ! With about 4 million refugees and asylum seekers, including over 3.6 Syrian nationals, Turkey is one of the countries hosting the most displaced people in the world. There are a lot of things to do, especially regarding access to employment, and hopefully the team has a lot of ideas for the coming year. We are pleased we to introduce you to Muna, Mohamed, Mehmet and Mustafa, Techfugees Istanbul‘s co-leads 🎙
Could you please introduce yourself and your team to the Techfugees community?
MUSTAFA: I’m a sustainable development economist with a demonstrated history of working in social innovation and stakeholder engagement. Skilled in monitoring and evaluation, SROI, livelihoods, session facilitation related to complex issues revolving around sustainable development agenda. Since 2017 I’m working with the refugees in Turkey by enabling them by seed-funding their companies to opereate both financially and legally in Turkey. So far I’ve contributed to 70+ businesses to start in Turkey.
MOHAMED: Hi fam, I’m Mohamed Kawsara, A tech guy & refugee at the same time, who is a big fan of Techfugees and any other technology or NGO works, we are so much happy to launch our chapter and there is so much to do for our chapter and very promising projects to establish here in this very big country which is hosting a very huge number of refugees from different countries. Stay tuned we will impress you <3 and thanks a lot for having us onboard, wish you all a great days and hoping to host the next global event of Techfugees here in Istanbul <3
MUNA: I am a 20 years old Iraqi student living in Turkey, Istanbul. after years of social work aiming to support social cohesion and sustainable development of the displaced society in Turkey, it came to the picture that most of the traditional methods that are being used locally are being proven with medium to low impact on solving the common problems of the displaced members here. At Istanbul’s chapter of Techfugee’s, we’re responding to the needs of displaced people in finding opportunities for employment, education, and social cohesion. our main goal is to supply the demand for integrated development of one’s skills and opportunities.
MEHMET: Hello everyone 👋, I’m happy to join Techfugees as a co-lead for our new Istanbul, Turkey chapter. I’m a computer engineer, however, I am more into the product side rather technical side of technology. My origin country is Syria but also I have gained the Turkish nationality, I have moved to Turkey almost 8 years ago, and that was because of the political and war situation over there. Since then I have worked in different local and international companies and projects all of them related to digital marketing and online business but in different sectors. Prior to that, I worked as a volunteer in junior chamber international a non-profit international non-governmental organisation of young people in Syria. I’m excited to launch Techfugees Istanbul, this city and Turkey in general, holds a very big numbers of refugees from Syria and other countries and I am looking to empower this community in order to allow them to build and improve their skills and future which will be reflected in a sustainable solutions for them and their families.
How did you hear about Techfugees?
MUSTAFA: I ran into Techfugees through online reseach (Youtube, Google) and then brought Mohamed on board 💪🏼
MUNA: While I was volunteering with a local NGO my senior introduced me to Techfugee’s work. It caught my attention as it was aiming for sustainable solutions instead of temporary ones.
MEHMET: I am a close friend of Mohamed 👆 and he told me that he is working to establish a new Techfugees chapter in Istanbul. Since I am already working and interested in tech and startup sector, I thought i can join the team and contribute to the community of tech for/with refugees here in Turkey. I love volunteering and doing research for such organisations.
Which are the displaced people’s main needs in your country?
MUSTAFA & MOHAMED: Among other needs, the most important would be the need for sustainable livelihoods opportunities. This goes through education & employment.
MUNA: When people are forced to flee their homes, they leave with the bare essentials. They also lose their ability to earn and spend in the process. This makes them often unable to catch up with the rapid change of demands in the market. Cash-based needs become a necessity for all the members of this vulnerable community along with the Educational-based needs. Therefore, in order to strengthen and support this group of people, these two streams of demands have to fed by various methods.
MEHMET: I think the main need is integration with the local Turkish community, there are a lot of cultural difficulties which is making it hard to be a part and adapt to the local community here. I believe that providing access to the main tech companies in Turkey will have a very tangible impact and bring value for the displaced people.
What are your projects for the next days, weeks and months?
MOHAMED & MEHMET : We’ve been brainstorming a lot to choose among different projects. From there we are building our annual roadmap. We are currently creating the environment to establish circles of connections with various stakeholders. We want to connect the host community with the refugee community on different aspects, foster employment through connections and give short educational seminars… In a few months we will do our first Hackathon as well 🙂
MUSTAFA: We will conduct several sessions where entrepreneurs (non-developers) can meet together with developers (displaced and locals) with the support of Habitat, Recoded, Impact HUB, imece, Startup HUB, RIAC Network and several other incubators.
MUNA: Currently we are proposing a meet up plan with those two segment of population and are looking for speakers and then trainers. After collecting the data from these meet ups we can proceed by the plan of launching the matchmaking program between developers and entrepreneurs who are seeking opportunities for employment and education, as Mustafa mentioned.
With which kind of organisation (tech, NGOs, universities, officials,…) do you plan to partner with?
MUNA & MEHMET: NGO’s that are interested in refugee empowerment and technology-related entrepreneurship are our main interest so far. We’d like to get in touch with official parties such as the UNHCR or the UNDP. Big tech companies in Turkey, incubators and training centers are also potential partners.
MUSTAFA: We’re already connected to some stakeholders in the tech and development ecosystem, like Habitat, Recoded, Impact HUB, imece, Startup HUB.
How can the Techfugees community help you? What are you looking for now?
ALL: Connections with interesting potential partners 😉
Anything to add ?
MUNA: “A refugee is someone who survived and who can create the future.” – Amela Koluder
Join Mohamed, Muna, Mehmet & Mustafa ! 👉 Volunteer your skills with Techfugees Istanbul