By @SimonCocking. It’s great when the creativity and innovation of tech innovators and investors is harnessed to achieve wider good for society. We were delighted to hear more about Mike Butcher‘s TechFugees initiative that has now grown into a global series of projects, with the support of UNHCR and other great partners.

TechFugees is an uplifting contrast to the current politics of division, exclusion and dislike advocated by many. As a Tech related news site some may feel it is not for us to comment on matters of a political nature, and generally we don’t. However we are in a time where very little is free from bias, or politics. In this context supporting a project that deals with the results of people becoming displaced from their homes, (for all the reasons that people become refugees, politics, environment, economic, warfare and others) seems like a positive thing to do.

Butcher explained “there are already over 100 projects, covering a whole range of initiatives but focused on five key areas including infrastructure, education, identity, health and inclusion”. Butcher said a friend at UNICEF explained “the goal is not to find the next unicorn, what we want is technical support”. Since suggesting the idea “it has been like a meme, with people asking us if they can launch a chapter in Australia, all over the world people have set up projects …”  It was clear he was both inspired and moved by the positive response. From the TechFugees website it is clear the idea has resonated with techies around the world with chapters are opening up on all continents and in many countries.


At time where national governments in the UK and the US, and other countries are so far away from a caring, tolerant, open, embracing approach to the world’s diversity. We are in a time of conservative reaction to massive societal changes. A consequence of the world moving into a new phase of globalisation, automation, and many more changes that not everyone is comfortable with.

There is no clear road map as to how things will exactly turn out, it is clear there will be further large disruptions and enforced population migrations over the coming years. In this context this is a smart, proactive, and humanitarian response. Trying to ensure the quality of life for those who are displaced is a worthwhile goal. Especially as many will spend long periods of time in refugee camps. Hopefully some of the ideas developed at various TechFugee hackathons coming up around the world will provide useful innovations to reduce some of these problems.

We think it is a great initiative and we hope that it continues to grow and achieve some potentially quick and significant changes in the quality of life for those unfortunate enough to have been made refugees, usually through no fault of their own.

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WHAT IS TECHFUGEES? => see more on their website 

Techfugees is a social enterprise mobilising the international tech community to respond to the refugee situation. Techfugees organises conferences, workshops and hackathons around the world in an effort to supply a pool of tech solutions and tech talent to NGOs working with refugees, and refugees themselves.

If you would like to have your company featured in the Irish Tech News Business Showcase, get in contact with us at [email protected] or on Twitter: @SimonCocking

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