Hackathon teams in Kurdistan collaborate to improve future for those in camps

Hackathon teams in Kurdistan collaborate to improve future for those in camps

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – In Iraq’s first ever Social Innovation Hackathon event, participants worked together to find solutions through creative technology that they hope will improve the lives of internally displaced persons (IDPs) and refugees.

“I was very pleased to see how much participants learned from working as a team – both the good and the bad,” Marcello Bonatto, the Chief Operations Officer of Re:Coded which organized the event said. “But more importantly, I hope the Hackathon showed them that collaboration and diversity are essential when you try to use technology to tackle a challenge.”

The head of the humanitarian innovation non-profit group explained that most of the 54 participants had never been in an event of this type and that teamwork is under-appreciated in this region.

The developers, designers, humanitarians, social entrepreneurs and community members came from across Iraq and the Kurdistan Region, with the common goal of creating job opportunities, facilitating relevant and accessible education opportunities to IDPs and refugees as well as providing cultural awareness to host communities.

Each participant at the Erbil Tech Hub/MSelect on Friday and Saturday first gave one-minute pitches and then formed 15 groups to develop their solutions.

Re:Coded wins Google RISE Award!

We’re thrilled to announce that Re:Coded is one of 30 organizations in 18 countries receiving a 2016 Google RISE Award! The Google RISE Awards is a program for informal education organizations around the world that promote computer science (CS) for youth that are traditionally underrepresented in CS!

Teaching Displaced Iraqis and Syrian Refugees How To Code

Teaching Displaced Iraqis and Syrian Refugees How To Code

ERBIL, Iraqi Kurdistan – When his computer coding class ends, Shadi Abdullah Khalid’s day is just beginning. The 36-year-old travels straight from the computer lab on the outskirts of Erbil to a warehouse across town where he works the nightshift as a security guard.

Shereen, a Syrian refugee fled to Iraq, teaches other refugees how to code

Shereen, a Syrian refugee fled to Iraq, teaches other refugees how to code

Shereen Messi· Software Engineer · Erbil, Iraq

“I always loved science and math, but when I was a kid I didn’t know that one day I would go to college. None of my family members went to university or even high school. As a kid I thought that people only go to middle school and that’s it. My family supported me in going to college, despite our culture where girls don’t have the right to study or work. I was accepted to the Software Engineering program. I didn’t think about what I want to be, I just wanted to learn everything, I feel so lucky that it happened this way.”

How NYC tech is taking on the refugee crisis with coding

How NYC tech is taking on the refugee crisis with coding

There are over 230,000 Syrian refugees living in Iraq alongside 3.5 million internally displaced Iraqis. They are, on average, expected to spend the next 17 years uprooted and in need of assistance. To put that into perspective, it would be like if everyone in Manhattan, the Bronx, Staten Island and Boston were unable to return home until 2034.  

“They have no access to higher education and their employment opportunities are limited,” Alexandra Clare, Founder at Re:Coded said. “We really wanted to start a program that gives people more opportunities than the existing humanitarian aid programs. They tend to be short term and don’t let people become upwardly mobile.”