Hack the Camp: The next day

by Fanis Kollias

As a media partner Solomon joined the Hack the Camp, a Hackathon that was organized by the US Embassy in Athens, The Onassis Cultural Center and Impact Hub Athens. The initiative aims to create innovative and viable solutions to everyday problems of refugees who reside both inside and outside of the camps.

During the three-day Hackathon, nine teams from diverse backgrounds and varied experiences each tackled an issue and worked hard to come up with original solutions. The teams included people with experience in the field such as interpreters, volunteers, social workers, but also designers, programmers, marketing and management professionals. On Sunday afternoon, all nine teams met and presented their ideas at Impact Hub Athens. Here’s a brief description of the projects that were presented:

Autonomous Water Supply: This team aims to manufacture a mechanism for the camps that can store water for use inside individual tents, so as to create a sense of self-sufficiency, personal space and wellbeing. (3rd place)

Refergon: An online platform which gives refugees access to the workplace by recruiting skilled refugees and matching them with employment opportunities, and by offering unskilled refugees access to skill building and vocational training opportunities. (2nd place)

Native Net: Plans to provide refugees living both inside and outside of the camps with a service (in their own language) that would offer essential information regarding various forms of assistance that is available to them. (1st place)

CoProducing the Camp: This project involves organizations and refugees working together to plan activities inside the camps based on their daily needs.

Radio Transit: Aims to create a mobile radio station that would travel from camp to camp, offering the refugees the opportunity to express themselves freely and discuss issues that are important to them.

Hopestarter: This team’s idea is to create a way for donations to be made directly, peer-to-peer, for refugees in need of financial support.

Refway: Aims to offer refugees with a service that gives them access to information about job opportunities.

Match and Teach me for Integration: A project which helps refugees acquire foreign language skills (Greek and English) as well as computer skills via an e-learning platform.

EterArt: A project which uses art as a means of communication between the people inside the camps and the organizations when there is no common language.

Ioanna Theodorou from Campfire Innovation was in attendance to help the teams develop their ideas using pragmatic and feasible solutions.

“All of the ideas are still in initial stages – that however gives them the flexibility to focus on practical solutions. The winning teams must clarify how the funding will be used to help develop their project. All nine ideas are based on real needs that refugees are facing, something that means that the team participants have the experience and know the field in which they are working. And this is encouraging. Let’s see where this leads to…”

Impact Hub Athens has made its mark as a significant network in Greece for Social Enterprises, focusing on the creation of long-term solutions to current problems. More specifically:

“Initially, we examine the challenges of the refugee issue, without focusing only on the immediate needs; we emphasize the next day, the long-term needs. Then, we focus on supporting all the teams (not only the winners) with the development of their projects. And finally, we aim to motivate public opinion and relevant institutions.”

The need for viability and the creation of long-term solutions is more than obvious, something that has already been noted in the past by our team. We wish all the all participants involved good luck. We hope they create favorable cooperation amongst themselves, but also with the existing initiatives that will lead to the achievement of long-term solutions.

Written by Fanis Kollias  |  Translated by Gigi Papoulias

photo credits: Fanis Kollias & Nadir Noori

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