Techfugees Australia Meetup on World Refugee Day 2018

This article was written by Anne-Marie from Techfugees’ chapter in Australia 


Techfugees Australia community gathers for World Refugee Day in Sydney on 20 June with over 100 former refugees, investors, philanthropists, corporates and mentors at the Microsoft Startups site in the Sydney Startup Hub with support from Trip Advisor for the incredible meal by refugee startup Parliament on King.

Our special guest of honour was Zoe Ghani – CTO of The Iconic who in a fireside chat with Annie Parker – talked about her experience as a daughter of refugees. Zoe shared her experiences and her passion for tech and desire to get into that world despite lacking tech skills.

Some amazing young people – from Directa team with founder Shaqaeq (a startup connecting refugees to local activities) with Zoe Ghani from The Iconic

Shaqaeq (alumni of Techfugees Fairfield and part of the winning team) asked Zoe if she faced any barriers as a refugee woman? Zoe’s advice to others is “follow your heart and learn to respectfully give your opinion – culturally that is hard because in our culture you have hierarchy and tradition but my parents always taught me to respectfully give my opinion.”

Zoe also observed that she found a difference in the way women interviewed, she said “Men tend to ask – what can your organisation do for me, while women ask What can I do for your organisation.” She encouraged women to really think about where they want to work and who they want to work for.

So who should consider a career in tech? Wisdom from Zoe about who should consider a career in tech? She believes anyone – “ You need all types of skills in tech – not just developers, but also communications, user experience, design, business development and marketing.”

Zoe was so moved by the event she asked if she could stay involved – and of course with open arms we welcomed her to the Techfugees family. 👐


Life after a Techfugees Australia Hackathon

Alumni and winners of the Fairfield Hackathon – Shaqaeq (18 years old and still at school) and Eli also took the stage and shared what life after Techfugees hackathon was like? Super dynamo Shaqaeq shared her journey of getting around to startup events at Academy XI and Fishburners to keep pitching her ideas – she feels welcomed by the startup community and vowed to be a champion for more refugee young women to join Techfugees and look to startup for opportunities.

Eli spoke about his experience at the Hackathon and how his team gave up their prize for Shaqaeq to do the UX design course – which she enjoyed thoroughly. Eli is continuing to work on his chatbot idea with his team and is thrilled Shaqaeq continues to amaze.


Techfugees Australia Family – Offers and News

As always we have a burgeoning community of people who want to help – here are some of the offers on the night:

  • Zoe Ghani is part of Australians for UNHCR & she’s hiring data people at the Iconic;
  • Square Peg Capital – Imogen Baxter announced SquarePegCapital is looking for an Investment Analyst;
  • Nirary Dacho shared exciting news about RefugeeTalent and MigrantTalent: they have scaled to NZ and are assisting DFAT to source skilled refugees in camps for Australian employers;
  • Shaqaeq alumni from Fairfield Techfugees last year launched her start up – Directaaus – and has been pitching at various competitions;
  • Yosa spoke about TryMeHireMe: jobs for students and graduates includes video interviews;
  • Dor Achiek from our NGO partner Settlement Services International gave us a good picture of the demographic data around Blacktown and the types of refugees settling there – and he took the selfie we always get:

Next Steps? our Hackathon 2018 🤖

We also got a video message from one of our fans in Canberra – Ed Husic SHadow Minister for the Digital Economy and the Future of Work with an announcement that our next Techfugees Australia hackathon is in November in Blacktown!


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