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Monday, 26 November 2018
Page: 11493


Mr HUSIC (Chifley) (16:15): Over the weekend, Techfugees held its fourth Sydney Hackathon. Techfugees was designed to bring the tech start-up and NGO communities together with refugees settling and building new lives in Australia. Blacktown was the perfect place to host Techfugees, given that it's a city that has become home to people from nearly 188 different birthplaces. The teams were set a challenge to create tech solutions for settlement difficulties identified by Settlement Services International, the largest not-for-profit humanitarian settlement organisation in the country, with key themes including access to services beyond settlement eligibility periods, the need for disability and aged-care support, domestic and family violence support and education and training support.

The teams worked together on their ideas and pitched them to judges. The third prize went to a team of young men who had put to gather a chatbot to help young refugees get connected with a buddy who is experiencing mental health challenges. The second prize went to a team helping map out pathways for refugees wanting to go to university and find scholarships, bearing in mind that young refugees can't qualify for HECS, which is an important barrier. The first prize went to Team First Path, who designed an online game to help young refugees navigate subject choices when they arrive, which can be really daunting. It takes a lot of work and there are a lot of volunteers who help bring this together. I particularly want to give a shout-out to Anne-Marie Elias, Annie Parker and Nicky Williamson, who always put in such a huge effort to make this a great success. Congratulations to everyone who was involved.