‘Sheffugees’ hack helps asylum-seekers and refugees

Hacker Jargon

By Rory Mitchell @rorymitchell

A ‘hackathon’ was held in Sheffield last weekend in aid of asylum-seekers and refugees.

The hackathon dubbed ‘Sheffugees’ was organised by company YooMee and took place on Friday and Saturday with more than 25 people turning up, some of which were experienced professionals from the local tech scene and Sheffield City Council.

Hackathons are events organised by computer programmers, which involve software engineers taking part projects that usually have a 24-hour deadline.

The aim is to improve coding skills whilst producing an end product which is useful to consumers.

The two projects were a mobile mapping website, which aimed to help asylum-seekers on their arrival in Sheffield to find useful places around the city.

The other was a website aimed at the public and third-sector bodies that work with asylum seekers, highlighting the services they need to access at all of the stages of the asylum-seekers stay.

“We started off on Friday evening with a couple of hours of round-table discussion on approximately 10 potential projects, all of which had been suggested by public sector and third sector organisations working with asylum seekers and refugees” said developer Dan Sumption in a blog post.

“It was great working throughout the weekend with people from Sheffield Council and local volunteers, who brought a huge amount of insight and domain knowledge which complemented the technical skills the rest of us brought to the table.”

A follow up ‘hackathon’ will take place in the next six weeks, which will give voluntary and community organisations time to get more local asylum-seekers and refugees involved.

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