Torrens University and Techfugees organize Hackathon in Adelaide

Techfugees is a global network of collaborators, united by the desire to improve the lives of refugees around the globe. As part of their activities in Australia, Techfugees hosted a Hackathon in collaboration with Torrens University Australia, on their campus in Adelaide.

The event was held in late May with more than 80 participants. Torrens undergraduate students were among the developers, designers, entrepreneurs, marketers, and refugee community members coming together to consider how creative tech solutions could help improve the lives of refugee families in South Australia.  

The event got underway with participants pitching their ideas on a photo board and selecting their teams. Mentors from Techfugees were on hand to share their experience as refugees to help shape the team’s tech design.

“The Techfugees Hackathon was a fantastic demonstration of our core value Here for Good. Bringing together such a diverse group of people, with the collective aim of improving the lives of refugees, shows the power we have when we collaborate,”

said Torrens University Vice Chancellor Justin Beilby.

After a couple of days of hard work, the teams presented their final pitches on Sunday afternoon to a panel of industry judges. Cultura, which featured Torrens media design student Bane Williams, won both first prize and the People’s Choice Award. Their idea was focused on an app that works within the refugee communities, and beyond, to provide a way to share their culture with others through gastronomy.  

Pathways, the second prize winner, is an online platform that helps skilled refugees and immigrants discover pathways to meaningful work. Robby Ortloff and Ben Blaess, both media design students, took out third place as part of Law Lift, an application to educate and support people seeking refuge in Australia. 

Each winning team received a mentorship packagefrom a local business that will assist them in further developing their concept over the coming months.