Winners of TC Disrupt Hackathon will help refugees with education, identity and social inclusion

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The TechCrunch Disrupt London Hackathon was the launchpad for three ideas, which will help refugees with social inclusion, access to education, and keeping track of their identity even if essential papers get lost.

Running for a total of 24 hours and taking place in the run-up to the TechCrunch Disrupt conference, the hackathon attracted nearly 300 participants. The three winners selected by Techfugees from eleven competing teams used IBM Watson, Twilio and Twitter APIs to develop ideas which will help refugees with social inclusion, gain access to education, and show proof of identity.

Who were the winners?

  • RefuTweet

RefuTweet aims to provide refugees on the move with the help they need by connecting with local individuals sympathetic to their cause.

The messages are parsed through IBM Watson to extract both the location and request. RefuTweet then searches Twitter in a radius of up to 16 miles around the area and identifies all handles which have tweeted about the refugee crisis in the past week.

A personality insight analysis is run on all relevant Twitter profiles to identify specific users in the area who are sympathetic to the refugee cause and exhibit personality traits such as love, harmony, idealism, sympathy, and altruism.

RefuTweet sends out friendly tweets and a link, asking the top three users if they would like to help a refugee in their area who is in need. If the link is clicked and confirmed a message is sent back to the refugee alerting them that someone is willing to help and how to arrange a meeting.

Watch the video and find out more about the team: Harley Katz, Brett DeWoody, Dhaval Patel, George Stefanis, Michael Curtis.

  • ResID

When refugees are in a foreign country they often have very limited papers with text information, papers which can be easily lost or stolen. ResID helps people never lose track of who they are.
Watch the video and find out more about the team: Danil Gontovnik, Andrey Staroseltsev, Jon Miller.

  • Sensei Hub

Sensei Hub provides a simple capture mobile app that photographs and records student test papers.

Computer vision understands the test paper results, and instantly records this against the student and test IDs from the one photograph.

A facial recognition feature is also available where the student doesn’t have their student ID. This is stored locally in the teachers own mobile device until they are within wifi and an upload to the repository can be completed and the test data securely archived.

Watch the video and find out more about the team: Luka Topolovec, Blaz Magdic, Tine Postuvan, Joanna Alpe.


What’s next for the winning teams?

Techfugees has offered to support the three teams in developing their prototype into a working MVP with the help of partners TechHub, AltCity and TheToolBox. They will also support field trips to Calais and Lebanon.

After the winners were announced Josephine Goube, CEO of Techfugees, said:

“The prototypes that have been presented have the potential to provide relief to millions of refugees, because unlike distributing aid, tech solutions scale. We were delighted to see so many teams pitching solutions and so many of them really understanding the potential of AI, chatbots and voice recognition systems, thus saving time for refugees and NGOs by automating many time-consuming tasks. Especially in the domain of education, knowing that one out of two refugees is a child, we can’t stress the importance of the need to create solutions that scale now and can be deployed as soon as possible. A child that does not go to school for years will find it extremely hard to catch up later and may never get another chance.”

As part of the hackathon, Techfugees partner Lebanon-based entrepreneur and AltCity CEO, David Munir Nabti, mentored the hackers taking on the Techfugees challenges.

“It was great to see so much energy at the hackathon from teams working to build scalable solutions for refugees and other marginalized communities. We’re excited to see how we can mobilize some of that great talent and energy to support innovation emerging from refugees themselves. If we can build stronger links between these innovators and entrepreneurs and the refugee communities, we can make great strides towards addressing deep challenges that affect us in Europe, the Middle East, and beyond.”

Elizabeth Varley, CEO of TechHub, explained:

“Technology has the ability to transform lives, from everyday experiences to times of crisis. As an advocate of diversity and inclusion in tech, TechHub is delighted to partner with Techfugees in recognising the efforts of entrepreneurs seeking to improve access and opportunities for refugees. We look forward to having the winning team as part of the TechHub community to support them in their awesome work.”

More information

See what else went on at the TechCrunch Disrupt London Hackathon
Find out more about TechCrunch Disrupt

Techfugees Torino winners: the hackathon to design technology solutions using innovative payment solutions

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More than forty people, including developers, designers, and students, participated last weekend at the Turin Techfugees Italy challenge: finding innovative solutions to help NGOs fundraise for Refugee projects.

The winners: an instagram for charity and the virtual assistant through Facebook that guides you in donations, two projects with a special focus on leveraging social networks to increase donations in emergency situations improving on the donation SMS, with a better experience for the donor.


The partners of the event – INTERSOS, Paypal, Motorola Solutions, the startups Helperbit and OJOO and the organisation of Migrants Saluzzo, saturday morning discussed the main problems and some of the challenges they face. The teams were then formed and the participants grouped to tackle specific issues. The two selected winners were:

Techfugees Torino Hack

Rebot; Donations made easy – The system that allows you to recruit donors through a Facebook “bot”, works like a virtual assistant who can start personal conversations with users, allowing them to choose the cause to which they would like to donate and gives access in just a few clicks to making a donation. During an emergency the “bot” will engage the community of donors to ask for donations directly.

Waste Your Soul – is the charitygram that converts happiness into social energy. The system follows the social network Instagram, where users post pictures and videos, with one difference: this publication of a post will automatically trigger a payment. In fact, each published content corresponds to a donation that supports a single cause to which the whole community participates and sharing of posts will incentivate an even higher participation on donations.

Techfugees Torino

The prizes – The winning teams have access to prizes provided by TechfugessTorino premium sponsors Paypal Italy and Motorola Solutions that have agreed to offer the prizes winners the support of their internal development teams to push forward on the realisation of the project into actual products.

  • Motorola Solutions offered the winner team a trip to Berlin (flight and hotel) for two people with the opportunity to spend time at their Facility & Innovation Center.
  • PayPal will also host the winning team in their offices, helping them to acquire knowledge in the field of payments and financial technology to build upon the project by integrating their products such as PayPalMe. Moreover, all members of the winning team receives a branded Paypal backpack.
  • Always with the aim of giving continuity to the hackathon projects, the TOP-IX Consortium gifted a free membership for an entire year to their Development Program.