A wind of change is blowing over our Irish chapter 💫 Born in 2016 thanks to Lye Ogunsanya, Techfugees Ireland will now be led by Suad Al Darra, our favorite Syrian data scientist who won our Global Challenges competition of #tech4refugee startups last year. We are thrilled to let her introduce herself to you through this short interview:
Could you please introduce yourself and your team to the Techfugees community?
I am Suad Al Darra, a data scientist interested in data for refugees and for good and the founder of RefugeesAre.info. This project won the Techfugees Global Challenge 2018 and was a finalist at the European DatSci & AI Awards 2019 🌟
The chapter‘s team is currently small but we have more on the way! Ana Sofia Barros is part of it. She’s an account executive who have previously helped to organize the Techfugees hackathon in Barcelona last May and we are lucky that she just moved to Dublin! Sophie Benoit is in it as well. She’s a social entrepreneur who was the team lead organizer for the Startup Weekend Dublin Immigration edition of which Techfugees was a partner earlier this year.
How did you hear about Techfugees?
I had just published my website RefugeesAre.info which analyzes news around refugees to highlight the issue of xenophobia, and I wanted a venue to share it. A few minutes on Google led me to Techfugees and I knew it was the place to be!
Which are the displaced people’s main needs in your country?
I am currently researching more about the needs but so far the main issue in Ireland is the forced stay at the Direct Provision, where asylum seekers have to stay until their papers are approved and a proper place is found for them to move on. Spending years on hold with no employment and education opportunities can affect them negatively on so many levels.
What are your projects for the next days, weeks, months..?
Exploring more deeply the needs of displaced people in Ireland. And in a nearer future, we’ve planned a meetup on October 21st to introduce Techfugees’ new step and create a community base for it in Ireland.
With which kind of organization (tech, NGOs, universities, officials,…) do you plan to partner with?
The UNHCR, UNICEF, Irish Refugees Council, Amnesty Ireland and any kind of organization that has a focus on displaced people. Also, tech companies who have Social Responsibility programs and are doing work around refugees such as LinkedIn, Salesforce.org. Dogpatch Labs (Google for Startups fellow as well as Techfugees 👫) is our main partner: they generously offered us a free desk at their amazing workspace to connect and network with innovators and will host our events.
How can the Techfugees community help you? What are you looking for now?
We are always looking for volunteers and sponsors, especially for our upcoming hackathon! We need people passionate for a real change; innovators, designers, developers, social media experts, event planners…