The past two weeks have seen our CEO, Joséphine Goube, catching up with Techfugees chapters around the world to see what they’ve been up to, and celebrate the addition of some new faces to the team…
It’s an exciting time for the Techfugees global family, as we start to push against boundaries which we placed on ourselves last year to avoid overstretching. With nearly 25 active chapters worldwide, my concern was that we wouldn’t be able to sustain the type of resources and funding these chapters need to grow.
Yet, we got lucky in the last 12 months. New talent, sponsors, and partners joined us, and I’m proud to announce that we’re now tentatively approaching a point where further expansion seems not just possible, but likely.
The European connection
Of course, this is all thanks to the hard work of the teams themselves. They’re the ones keeping the Techfugees network alive and vibrant.
Take Tom from our Berlin chapter, who is busy organising our second German hackathon, in partnership with the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) and ReDI School, a coding school for newcomers to Germany.
The refugees participating are almost all graduating from the school. Tom has been able to help refine the challenges for the hackathon from our experience of previous ones and ones done by other chapters, and he will be giving a training session on pitching at the hackathon itself.
Meanwhile, I took an emotional trip to our Paris chapter, of which I used to be President. Now, that position is held by Joanna, recently elected and looking forward to expanding our French team, hosting more events for refugees and engineers, and branching out beyond hackathons. The next meetup event is on the evening of May 30th at Liberté Living Lab, and you can email Joanna for more details.
Across the Channel, our team in London also have a new elected head, Min. Min also aims to add new positions to the chapter, including a Director of Refugee Engagement and someone to take the lead on NGO outreach.
Ideally, our London chapter can make the most of their position to work closely with the abundance of great tech companies based there. There’s enormous untapped potential in areas like blockchain, and a wealth of hardware companies like Raspberry Pi. If you want to apply to a volunteer position; reach out to Min.
Empowerment without borders
Beyond Europe, inspiring news is coming in from Ali, head of our Jordanian chapter. An Iraqi refugee himself, he’s built a strong reputation leading startup weekends across the region and now, through Techfugees, Ali is creating spaces for people to learn to code, and creativity labs to help them collaborate.
There’s a real dynamic feel to the work here, which you can follow on Twitter. Ali is looking to try and replicate our women’s fellowship, in partnership with with the new Cairo chapter, so it’ll be very interesting to see that play out.
Even further afield, I met Annie from our Australian chapter while she was in London. The Aussie team are embarking on their fourth hackathon, which is a fast pace of growth considering they were the first team to spin out of our London meeting in late 2015. They were the ones to come back with a fully-fledged team the very next day!
Their first three events in Brisbane, Adelaide, and Sydney have produced real impact and awesome startups. Among them is an employment platform, RefugeeTalent, built by a refugee himself Nirary which has scaled in just under 2 years, has made it into the Forbes list and is already a profitable company. Check them out on Twitter!
Volunteer with Techfugees
All this dialogue between our chapters has been given some much-needed amplification thanks to the addition of Elliott, our new full-time Coordination and Projects Manager.
Elliott is working behind the scenes standardising and backing up our various guides, templates, and support systems. He’s also building an inter-chapter Wiki, which will be an enormous help in keeping our database of partners up to date and making sure all the output from our events is sustainable.
None of what we do would be possible without the help of people like Elliott, and our chapter heads around the globe: Min, Joanna, Tom, Ali, Annie, Anne-Marie, Benedetta, Filip, Ida, Adil, and many more.
Are you interested in joining them to help create a better, fairer, and more inclusive world? Why not apply to volunteer with Techfugees?
We’re also on the look out for an Junior Project Manager who could join our HQ team full-time in Paris. We can’t wait to hear from you!
This post was written by the team at Sookio.