Home Articles Refugee support platform wins the Random Hacks of Kindness hackathon in Brisbane

Refugee support platform wins the Random Hacks of Kindness hackathon in Brisbane

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A team of social hackers won the Random Hacks of Kindness (RHoK) event recently held in Brisbane after creating a new platform for multicultural not-for-profit organisation, MDA Ltd.

The platform is designed to improve prospects for refugees and people seeking asylum in Australia by connecting them with mentors and facilitating goal setting.

RHoK Brisbane is the local arm of a global not-for-profit movement of social hackers coding for good. Twice a year, altruistic volunteers from the IT community come together to produce practical open-source solutions to problems affecting the world.

Hosted by Brisbane tech business NetEngine and Outfit, the weekend saw more than 50 developers, programmers, business analysts, marketers, designers and project managers develop tech solutions for charities, not-for-profits and community groups.

RHoK4MDA Senior Manager, Sally Stewart, said the hackers’ brilliant tech solution, which was almost completely developed from scratch for web and mobile platforms over the weekend, would be a valuable tool to support the career aspirations of newly arrived refugees and people seeking asylum in our community.

“The app offers a unique opportunity for busy working professionals to link to young people of refugee background with similar interests and provide advice about how to move into that industry,” Ms Stewart said.

“Progress on simple things like job applications, relevant IT skills and developing local networks are tracked together, providing new pathways to employment alongside existing settlement support.”

What went down at this RHoK hackathon?

A competing team of hackers worked on increasing registrations for Oxfam’s Trailwalker fundraising program, creating a web platform that incrementally boosts consumers’ confidence in their ability to join 100km walks.

A third team designed an app to help young people develop conscious spending attitudes for Financial Basics Foundation, with slick gamification features balancing ‘happiness’ and ‘spending’, an instant messenger function that connects users with a financial adviser and integration with banking data.

RHoK5NetEngine and Outfit founder Bruce Stronge, who brought RHoK to Brisbane for the first time in 2013, said he wanted to use technology to make a difference in the world.

“Bringing RHoK to Brisbane for the first time in 2013 was a no-brainer for NetEngine. It fits perfectly with our commitment to building things that really matter, and using technology to make a positive difference in the world,” he remarked.

“Technology can have an incredible impact on the world and RHoK is there to connect NFPs and great tech talent to solve some of the world’s most pressing issues. This year’s event saw hackers leverage tech skills for the better, helping MDA Ltd, Oxfam and Financial Basics Foundation make a bigger impact.

“The value of the work delivered from RHoK often runs into many thousands of dollars and would otherwise be out of reach for some of these charities and community groups.

Bruce Stronge ( Photo by Jack Tran)
Bruce Stronge ( Photo by Jack Tran)

“MDA Ltd’s new multi-platform networking and goal-setting app is evidence of the tangible value delivered back to the community through RHoK, and what can be accomplished when purpose-driven individuals from tech and social enterprises put their hearts and minds together.

“There’s no big cash prize; it’s not an ultra competitive hackathon, but a chance to get the brains and skills to tackle big problems in the one room.”

The winning team took home the glory, a couple of movie tickets and a warm and fuzzy feeling.

Random Hacks of KindnessHow will this winning platform help?

Sally Stewart said, “Our ability to settle Australia’s newest residents into a new country and culture increasingly relies on smart technology solutions. As an independent organisation, having free access to some of Brisbane’s brightest tech talent through Random Hacks of Kindness is extremely valuable.”

“The hackers’ brilliant tech solution, which was almost completely developed from scratch for web and mobile platforms over the weekend, will be a valuable tool to support the career aspirations of newly arrived refugees and people seeking asylum in our community.

“The app offers a unique opportunity for busy working professionals to link to young people of refugee background with similar interests and provide advice about how to move into that industry.

“Progress on simple things like job applications, relevant IT skills and developing local networks are tracked together, providing new pathways to employment alongside existing settlement support.”

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