Some 35 Syrian and Turkish computer programmers and graphic designers are participating in a hackathon on computing coding and training to find new technological solutions that would ease the daily challenges faced by refugees in Turkey.
The event is being organized by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and InnoCampus, a non-profit project providing innovation and entrepreneurship expertise. IOM mentors provided guidance to the Turkish and Syrian participants about refugee-related problems in Turkey. The first phase of the event was held between Feb. 3 and Feb. 5.
The teams participating in the Hackathon pinpointed four areas for potential innovation: a social media app to help doctors and patients overcome language barriers; a touch-screen, self-service kiosk providing information about basic services available for Syrians living in Turkey; a social media app for refugees to self-identify their needs and find possible solutions to their problems; and a scanner that provides verbal instructions to assist people in accurately and quickly sending documents required for obtaining humanitarian assistance.
The ideas will be further developed at the Entrepreneurship Accelerator Training Program, which will take place from Feb. 17 to May 10 at the InnoCampus in Gaziantep.
"The Hackathon encouraged innovation and social inclusion, as host country nationals and refugees themselves came together to find sustainable solutions to the very real problems they face," said Lado Gvilava, IOM Turkey Chief of Mission.
"Nowadays, when you have a question about something, you go on social media. It's all about social media. Now, people teach each other," said Basel, a Syrian participant.
Turkey currently hosts more than 3 million Syrian refugees and has spent around $25 billion sheltering displaced people since the beginning of the Syrian war.
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