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The Refugee Crisis: How Coders, Apps, and Technology Provide Relief

Source: Coder Factory Academy


The Refugee Crisis: How Coders, Apps, and Technology Provide Relief

The Refugee Crisis: How Coders, Apps, and Technology Provide Relief

When my editor suggested I write an article about coding and refugees, I’ll be honest, I didn’t think it was going to be an easy post to write.

But it turns out I was wrong, very wrong. It also turns out that I needn’t have asked for payment in advance.

This is because the moment I started doing some research I quickly came across a wealth of evidence, research, and one of the best examples of pure altruism I’ve seen in a long time in the tech world.

You may or may not be aware of it, but coders, tech engineers and app designers are helping refugees from around the world every day…and they’re not doing it for profit. More than that, they’re making a real difference and a real positive impact on the lives of refugees worldwide.

apps for refugees

Refugee Crisis? There’s an App for That

If you have been unlucky enough to be caught up in a civil war between say a dictator on one side, ineffectual international intervention, and fear being at the mercy of religious extremists; or been caught in the middle of a warzone, and now attempt to survive by crossing a desert or an inhospitable sea on a rubber Band-Aid in an attempt to save you and your family’s lives; or paid thousands of dollars for the privilege of escaping to some untrustworthy and nefarious individuals, only to end up in a country where you don’t speak the language and face an uncertain future of prejudice, resentment and genuine repression for “coming over here and not making an effort”…

Then don’t panic, because there’s an app for that. No, seriously, there is. In fact, there are heaps of them! Pick one and get going.

A genuine revelation

Refugees can access apps that will help them save their lives, and it’s actually part of a growing trend worldwide.

To be honest, I should have known. I’ve covered other tech related innovations designed to help humans over the last few years, such as MS, Google and Facebook’s efforts to grant even the remotest parts of the world better internet. I’ve also been a champion of the Raspberry Pi, and even covered emergent renewable power in third world countries.

So, it should go without saying that there are also apps for refugees. Someone like you and me has built them…and the best news of all is that if you can code, you too possess the power to create applications for the benefit of humanity.

The curious thing (and also the wonderful thing) about how coding has helped refugees is the fact that much of it’s been carried out by small like-minded groups and individuals.

how to help refugees

But, how exactly can technology and coding help refugees?

At its most basic level, merely having a phone with GPS and Google Maps installed has proved to be a lifesaver for refugees.

According to Amnesty International, the war in Syria alone has displaced over 4 million individuals — nevermind the estimated 43 million (and growing) worldwide.

Unsurprisingly, there isn’t much of an organisational infrastructure for civilians wanting to flee war zones. Sheltering, feeding and providing essential healthcare is a logistical nightmare for NGOs and other organisations trying to help. But, by utilising data and analytical technology, some groups have deployed rather innovative mechanisms to try and make the difference.

app for refugees

And why wouldn’t it?

It was only last year that the chief information officer for the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) said that the “first thing people running the Za’atri [refugee] camp in Jordan ask for is not tents and blankets, but where they can charge their mobile phones.”

For a refugee, looking at cute pictures of kittens is one of the last things on their mind. Instead, the humble mobile phone is now seen as an integral part of a wide gamut of strategies currently worked on under the guide of the UN Innovation program.

It’s also an example of where big tech companies can make their presence felt. Microsoft has been working since 1999 to support UNHCR in its mandate to offer refugee assistance, by leveraging technology, specifically, with the proGres initiative.

Some volunteer Microsoft employees began ProGres back in 1999. Since then, ProGres has become the UN global registration system for refugees. By the end of 2010, proGres operated in more than 250 locations across 82 countries, and to date has provided assistance to nearly 5 million refugees.

Thanks to ProGres’ implementation of Iris scanning technology commonly used by U.S. banks, there’s no longer an administrative backlog of refugees waiting to be registered. As a concrete example, the UN has estimated that over 600,000 refugees currently reside in Jordan.

Keeping tabs on the number of refugees has proven more impactful than knowing each refugee’s name. According to Andrew Harper of the UN, it’s fundamentally changed the way the UN distributes aid to the estimated 2 million plus refugees both in Jordan and surrounding areas. The resulting data ensures that aid is implemented in a much more effective manner than ever before.

The Migrants’ Files project takes a different approach, likely because it was designed with an alternative purpose in mind. It was launched in 2013 when a group of European journalists and researchers joined forces to quantify the deaths of immigrants seeking refuge in Europe, and identify the locations of these tragedies on maps. The Migrants’ Files involves the extended use of graphical information systems to plot data accurately on maps, and paints a different story to the one the media tells.

Another great example of technology and coding helping refugees is Refunite, another powerful service that helps people who have been displaced. Refunite’s tagline is: ‘Everyone has a right to know where their family is.’

Refunite is the story of two tech engineers, David and Christopher, who found that existent family tracing programs lacked collaborative technology. Their mission is to eradicate the fill-in forms that made information sharing between agencies, borders, and conflicts really ineffective.

The power of entrepreneurs, hackathons, and techfugees

As you can see, a handful of tech entrepreneurs and established big tech have done their parts in helping refugees worldwide. But, the primary players have done it on a volunteer or not for profit basis. With that said, you don’t need to join or be employed by an NGO or a humanitarian organisation to help. You don’t need to travel to effected areas to get involved either. All you need to be is aTechfugee.

The term ‘techfugee’ simply refers to people around the world who volunteer their time to aid today’s human crises. Techfugees are part of the global collective aspiring to use technology to help out refugees…and they’re not an isolated bunch either! facilitates this work. While doing their part by coming up with innovative solutions, also places humanitarian engineers and coders in NGO’s. The best part of all? Techfugee’s work seems entirely altruistic in nature.

Refugees and their brave new world

It’s about much more than helping refugees flee whatever card they’ve been dealt. There are also issues after the fact. It’s just one of those things. There’s an awful lot of news documenting refugees as they flee, but there’s not much information once they’ve arrived.

While their lives might no longer be in immediate danger from lethal persecution, there’s a hundred and one problems they continue to face in their new country. From language barriers to cultural problems, to downright lack of basic information, refugees have massive amounts of work cut out for them with too few resources to lean on for help.

To reiterate: Coders possess the power to provide relief for refugees.

In our current digital age, geographic location doesn’t matter in the way it would’ve only ten years ago. Unsurprisingly, many ideas for apps and software to assist newly arrived refugees come from individuals who were once refugees themselves.

As a general rule of thumb, the ability to program is akin to learning a universal language. Coding is transferable.

Refugees from countries like Syria, Libya, and Iraq are the latest in a long line of displaced people marching back through history. Over the last two years, Techfugee hackathons have been organised across the world, including our very own Australia.

Back in November 2015, more than 50 tech developers, along with 30 people who came to Australia as refugees, joined forces in a suburb of Sydney to create apps that would help recently arrived refugee families integrate more easily into Australian society and understand our cultural differences in an enlightened way.

Techfugee events involve much more than well-intentioned coders getting together and assuming they know how to create apps and software that will help refugees. Taking an Agile approach, participants collaborate directly with refugees. Refugees talk to developers one-on-one in small, direct conversations about the issues and problems they personally faced upon arrival.

Even part-time Coder Factory student, Anna Robson, applied her recent coding skills to build a fully functinal app for refugees. Not to mention, Anna met co-founder Nirary at the Sydney Techfugee Hackathon in November 2015. The two joined together to solve the problem of talented, educated, and experienced people seeking refuge in Australia struggling to gain local work experience in their new country. The solution? Refugee Intern: a digital platform connecting skilled refugees with companies offering internships.

Have your own app idea? Bring your dreams to life in our part-time coding course.

Of course, while most of the Techfugee apps are still in development, turnaround time has significantly reduced thanks to the collective effort of small localised groups of coders, such as the talented amongst us in Sydney.

Join the efforts

While there’s been heaps in the news lately about the fast-paced development of artificial intelligence, and the impending displacement of work by robots, Techfugees worldwide have continued to do their best to help refugees globally by doing what they do best: coding.

The most refreshing part of it all is that they’re not incentivised by profits. Everyone involved strives to make a real difference, and the positive impact of technology on refugees has become palpable worldwide.

Anyone who knows how to code can help. What are you waiting for? Start learning today with Coder Factory.

Words: Euan Viveash | Main photo: Ben Fuchs (Co.Exist article)

Refugee Intern platform helps employers find skilled refugee workers

Source: Fairfield Champion

Refugee Talent co-founder and CTO Nirary-Dacho

Refugee Talent co-founder and CTO Nirary-Dacho

Nirary Dacho applied for more than 100 jobs after he arrived in Australia from Syria in June 2015.

The Smithfield resident’s Masters of Web Science, IT certifications and eight years of experience in IT working from Syria and Lebanon were ignored by Australian employers.

The frustrations of being highly skilled and unemployed were finally alleviated after he appeared on television, which led to a contract with Dolby Australia.

“My problem is solved … but what about the others?” he said.

“As a refugee, it is very hard to find a job because of many barriers and the main two are local experience – the most important – and the language.”

Seeing many refugees arrive in Australia and struggle to find work that fit their qualifications, Mr Dacho was determined to find a solution.

“Most [refugees] had to change their profession to get any job to support their families, for example an engineer could be a taxi driver, anything rather than engineer,” Mr Dacho said.

In November 2015, Mr Dacho met Anna Robson at TechFugees Australia Hackathon.

Ms Robson had previously worked on Nauru and was concerned about the challenges facing refugees.

“Working in Nauru, I found out how lots of talented people who arrive in Australia as refugees don’t get to use their skills just because they can’t find a job due to their lack of local experience and contacts,” Ms Robson said.

“I wanted to do something to help, but didn’t know how.”

Together, Mr Dacho and Ms Robson developed Refugee Intern, a website that provides a platform for skilled refugees to connect with employers.

“From my experience there is many businesses want to help refugees, but they don’t know where they can find all skilled refugees … and that what Refugee Intern provides,” Mr Dacho said.

“For business, we providing a central place to look for refugees, easy way to post positions and recommendation system to find candidates.”

Supported by Settlement Services International’s Ignite Small Business Start-ups initiative, Refugee Intern has already seen success stories with more than 50 candidates and 10 businesses using the website.

For more details, visit the Refugee Intern website.


Source: The New Comer

Former refugee's innovative start-up helps others find employment

Former refugee’s innovative start-up helps others find employment

Nirary Dacho arrived in Sydney as a Syrian refugee on 18 June 2015 with his family. The 29 year old IT programmer and lecturer with two university degrees went on to apply for over 100 jobs with no success: he didn’t have local experience which many companies demand from prospective employees.

Anna Robson worked in Nauru in detention centres and wanted to help out with refugees settling in Australia. She decided to go to the Techfugees Hackathon in November last year in Liverpool, Sydney where 150 founders, entrepreneurs, developers and investors teamed up with NGOs and refugees to develop ideas and startups to help with settling refugees.

That’s where she met Nirary, one of the speakers at the event and ended up as co-founder for their new start-up,Refugee Intern.

“The refugees spoke about the challenges they faced in Australia. The main one that stood out was that finding a job even when you’re highly skilled can be really difficult. Both myself and Nirary were interested in finding a solution for this problem and so we joined forces that weekend to build our platform, Refugee Intern, the aim being to connect skilled refugees looking for work with companies offering opportunities,” said Anna.

“I was at the hackathon because it was organised to create software solutions to help refugees, said Nirary. I am a refugee with a background in human rights and programming. In Syria, I also worked with the Assyrian human rights network for 4 years helping with refugee resettlement and human rights violation so everything about the event spoke to me. I met Anna and we came up with the idea to build a platform to help refugees find jobs. We find that skilled refugees often have lots of experience and knowledge from their home countries but when they come to Australia they end up with nothing because of the lack of local experience.”

Refugee Intern provides skilled refugees with 3-6 months internships in companies providing local experience after which they can apply for jobs. The organisation also aims to provide full time jobs along with internships.


“We launched Refugee Intern last year in November following the hackathon. Since then, we’ve focused on getting the word out to refugees first so we can build a good candidate base and then worked with companies to find out what opportunities they had to offer. When we were featured in Sydney Morning Herald that’s when companies started approaching us,” said Anna.

“I feel Australia provides a very big opportunity for refugees to develop themselves and study. But it’s hard to get started and people need support. That’s what we hope Refugee Intern will be able to provide,” said Nirary.

For more information on Refugee Intern, click here.
Watch Nirary and Anna’s interview for SMH here.

All images supplied by Refugee Intern.

New platform seeks to match skilled refugees with SA companies looking for new ideas

Source: Adelaide Now

Refugee Intern co-founders Nirary Dacho and Anna Robson with the chief executive of Welcome to Australia, Mohammad Al-Khafaji (centre). Picture: Dean Martin

Refugee Intern co-founders Nirary Dacho and Anna Robson with the chief executive of Welcome to Australia, Mohammad Al-Khafaji (centre). Picture: Dean Martin

INNOVATION has been the buzzword of Malcolm Turnbull’s prime ministership. Lost among his jobs and growth rhetoric, however, has been that the most effective — and probably cheapest — form of innovation is available from people who don’t yet have jobs.

That’s the view of two entrepreneurs whose platform provides an avenue for skilled refugees to get experience, or ideally an ongoing position, in their preferred sector.

Co-founders Anna Robson and Nirary Dacho — a Syrian refugee with a masters degree in web science — formulated Refugee Intern at a NSW hackathon event in November. Essentially, the online outlet connects, for a small fee, skilled refugees with companies for either short-term or ongoing roles. Work has already been found for 10 people.

With an initial east coast focus, 70 refugees have registered but the duo has now set its sights on South Australia.

Ms Robson, 29, said rather than refugees being seen as a threat to the existing labour market — as cited by Immigration Minister Peter Dutton during the federal election campaign — their resilience, ideas and skills should be viewed positively by potential employers.

“They bring global experience and often a new way of doing things. The business world can learn a lot from them,” she said.

“The response so far has been great from the private sector, so we’re confident that SA businesses will also see the benefits.”

Iraqi refugee Mohammad Al-Khafaji came to SA via Iran and Syria in 2003. The 27-year-old now heads up the Adelaide-based Welcome to Australia support network after previously working as a software engineer.

“We have civil engineers and project managers who worked for big, big companies back home and all they want is some local experience so they have confidence to go out and apply for jobs,” he said.

“Getting a leg in the door is the hardest thing and I think the corporate world has a social responsibility, but also a great opportunity, to diversify their workforce.

“What some of these people have been able to achieve in their home country with limited resources is quite incredible. They have different ideas and are some of the most entrepreneurial people you will ever meet.”

Mr Dacho, 29, is a case in point. He arrived in Australia with an extensive education and a host of experience. However, more than 100 job applications resulted in three unsuccessful job interviews. The problem, he was told, was a lack of local experience.

“When I said I recently arrived in Australia and hadn’t worked locally, that was it,” he said.

Mr Dacho’s plight took a positive turn after appearing in a television news story. He now has a three-month contract with Dolby.

“I’ve experienced the problem and now I want to solve it,” he said.

Refugee Interns – are they right for your organisation?

Source: Mondo Search

Refugee Interns – are they right for your organisation?

Refugee Interns – are they right for your organisation?

We are all Immigrants really – apart from our land’s Indigenous and Aboriginal peoples – so what gives us any greater workplace or citizenship rights?

Nirary and Anna met with our team at Mondo Search early in July to inform us about their platform they’ve created for Refugees looking for roles in Australia. Nirary Dacho and Anna Robson met at the Sydney Techfugee Hackathon in November 2015 and have since joined together to solve the problem of refugees struggling to get their first local work experience in their new country. Their solution is educated and English Speaking Refugee talent called Refugee Intern – a digital platform to connect skilled refugees with companies offering opportunities.

“Pain and suffering are always inevitable for a large intelligence and a deep heart.”

Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Crime and Punishment

Nirary and Anna have created a platform to help qualified refugees from Syria and Iraq find roles in Australia, their platform has been created to match their skills within industries such as IT, Accounting, Engineering, Marketing and Sales as well as specialist industries such as Graphic Design and Horticulture. They help refugees with gaining employment in all types of  roles (Full time, part time, casual, etc).

They built the platform in February and currently have 70 refugees registered as well as 10 companies that have signed up and 5 refugees placed so far.

The benefits for companies in hiring a refugee intern range from gaining highly skilled staff, increasing cultural diversity in your workplace and contributing to your organisation’s CSR. Whether you have an existing opportunity or are looking to add to your team, the Refugee Intern platform gives you the ability to post up an opportunity and receive applications, or have them do all the hard work (including screening) to make sure you get the best person for the job.

About the founders:

Nirary Dacho – Co-Founder & Chief Technology Officer (CTO) Nirary has a Masters in Web Science and more than 8 years experience in networking in the IT field. He was a lecturer at University in Syria and also worked as Manager for the Assyrian Human Rights Network.

Anna Robson – Co-Founder & Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Anna has a Bachelor in Sports Coaching/Bachelor in Sports Management. She previously worked in the Nauru detention centre for Save the Children and has worked for Queensland Police Service and the Canberra Raiders.

If you would like to learn more about Refugee Intern and how your company can participate, visit their website.

New intiative to connect refugees with jobs

Source: SBS Arabic Radio


A talented refugee from Syria has used his IT and web science skills to co-develop an online platform to help bridge the gap on one of the greatest challenges facing newly-arrived refugees – employment. Refugee Intern is the brainchild of Nirary Dacho, a Syrian IT analyst who arrived as a refugee in mid-2015, and Anna Robson, who learned first-hand about the hardships facing refugees and asylum seekers while working at the Nauru Detention Centre from 2014-15.  More in this interview with Nirary.


How startups and entrepreneurs are working to make life easier for refugees around the world

Source: Smart Company

Refugee Talent co-founder and CTO Nirary-Dacho

Refugee Talent co-founder and CTO Nirary-Dacho

The number of refugees, asylum seekers and displaced people around the world has exceed 50 million for the first time since World War 2, the United Nations Refugee Agency reports, and more than half of the world’s 20 million refugees are children.

Together with refugees themselves, tech experts, entrepreneurs and social workers are using startup thinking to create solutions to empower and support the millions of people forced to relocate due to natural and man-made disasters.

By exposing people to methodologies in entrepreneurship including incubation, acceleration and investment, startups are discovering new opportunities in this major global challenge, iGen Foundation director and Cultov8 impact incubator founder Lynda Ford says.

“Techfugees has created a great deal of focus on the ability of tech to help people settle in Australia,” Ford tells StartupSmart.

“We often forget that migrants and refugees make a huge contribution to the Australian economy.”

To mark World Refugee Day, we looked at some of the best humanitarian solutions created by startups and entrepreneurs.


This emergency shelter system was developed by Adelaide inventor Neale Sutton after three years of research and development and a $77,000 innovation voucher from the state government.

“The Humanihut is an all-in-one, out-of-the-box solution that provides accommodation, toilet and showering facilities and integrates necessary services such as fresh water, sewerage disposal and power,” Sutton says.

“It is a cost-effective, innovative solution that has the potential to save international aid agencies millions of dollars.”

Before inventing Humanithut, Sutton spent three decades working in conflict zones as an army officer.

His creation is intended for use in communities and disaster-hit areas around the world and was listed in Disrupt 100 this year for its potential to impact global markets.

Refugee Intern 

Refugee Intern is a platform helping newly settled refugees in Australia get local work experience through internships or traineeships.

Since inception at Sydney’s Techfugees in 2015, the startup has attracted more than 50 skilled refugees.

“Our big vision is refugees can go to any country and use their skills and experience with work opportunities from our platform,” Refugee Intern co-founder and CEO Anna Robson tells StartupSmart.

The platform features candidates with specialist skills in engineering and IT through to graphic design, healthcare and accounting.

“It allows refugees to be seen for the skills that they have,” Ford adds.

“It gives them networks, it gives them opportunities to exercise their skills and ensures they get a foot in the door.”

The startup is solving a wide scale problem for refugees, one that Refugee Intern’s co-founder and CTO Nirary Dacho experienced.

As a Syrian refugee highly qualified in web science and IT, Dacho went through a gruelling job seeking process only to be rejected repeatedly through more than 100 applications.

“We have progressed since the hackathon by partnering with a number of refugee organisations in NSW such as Settlement Services International, Core Community Services and Community Migrant Resource Centres to find suitable refugee candidates,” Robson says.

“We are now looking to expand more into the other states.”

Interpreter Central 

Interpreter Central is a Melbourne startup helping resettled refugees better connect with people that speak their language and specific dialects.

The idea for an interpreter marketplace was created to address the problem with accredited interpreters not speaking particular dialects leaving many refugees in Australia unable to use standard interpreter services.

Ali Raza, Andre Bergh and Harry Sanders developed the idea at Melbourne’s first Techfugees hackathon and scored $5000 from LaunchVic.

The team have spent the past couple of months building their product at Cultov8 and will compete in a final pitch on July 2 against fellow Techfugee Melbourne finalists. 

This Sydney startup helps community organisations streamline work processes so they can be more efficient and effective in working with refugees.

One of its key aims is to help organisations cut down administrative stress and tedious paperwork so caseworkers have more time to deliver critical services to refugees, asylum seekers and vulnerable people. is another graduate of Sydney’s Techfugees last November and was built with a team of refugees, case managers, counsellors and tech experts.

The platform empowers refugees to build new lives in Australia with goal-oriented support and lets caseworkers quickly tailor information and services for each client while providing assistance remotely.


This “world-proof” wi-fi case with a built-in battery can connect up to 150 devices to wireless internet anywhere.

The Croatian startup was created in response to the refugee crisis and recently won the humanitarian tech of the year award at The Europas, an event founded by TechCrunch editor Mike Butcher.

In a blog, MeshPoint founder Valent Turković says MeshPoint was designed to be easily replicable and adaptable.

“Our product is hacker and maker friendly and it’s open source to the bone,” Turković says.

“Since our product is made mostly out of off-the-shelf components we wanted to share our files and documentation on how to assemble and 3D print necessary parts so everybody from makers community can pitch in to help in crisis situations.”

New program puts skilled refugees in the sights of employers

Source: Daily Telegraph

L to R: Anna Robson with Syrian refugee, Nirary Dacho have started a new Refugee Intern program. Picture: John Appleyard

L to R: Anna Robson with Syrian refugee, Nirary Dacho have started a new Refugee Intern program. Picture: John Appleyard

THE combined experience of two dedicated Australians is changing the lives of newly arrived skilled refugees with a program that’s set to bridge the gap for gaining employment.

‘Refugee Intern’ is a new online platform to help refugees find work.

Working at the Nauru Detention Centre in 2015 gave Anna Robson an insight into the struggles facing many refugees, regardless of their skill level, and for Nirary Dacho that problem was his reality.

“I wanted to do something to help but didn’t know how,” Ms Robson said.

When Ms Robson returned to Australia she went back to IT.

She was among dozens of technology experts and entrepreneurs who attended the inaugural TechFugees Australia Hackathon in November 2015, developing innovative solutions to support refugees in the early stages of settlement.

During this hackathon she met Mr Dacho who had just begun his new life in Australia

An IT analyst with a masters degree in web science, a bachelor’s degree in IT, and more than eight years’ experience in the IT sector, Mr Dacho waited for years to be granted a humanitarian visa to Australia with his family.

“Nobody wants to come here and not work when they were all working in their home country,” – Nirary Dacho

“When I arrived a year ago, I sent out over 80 applications. Finally my company saw my interview on Lateline and they offered me a contract,” Mr Dacho said. He regards himself as extremely lucky to escape Syria with all his family and find work in Australia.

“It took seven years of waiting in Lebanon to find out if we were eligible to come to Australia,” he said. “Then it was another year of being here before I was able to find work.”

Together, Mr Dacho and Ms Robson created Refugee Intern with the support of the Ignite team, who helped with business and marketing plans, and budgets.

“When I heard Anna talking about the need to find a way to make the most out of the skills brought to Australia, I knew I wanted to work with her to find a solution, because it was exactly how I felt,” Mr Dacho said.

For her part, Ms Robson noted that refugees are “very innovative because they’re able to make something from nothing”.

“I’ve seen that first-hand,” she said. “We already have 10 companies working with us and we’ve placed five refugees in the first month of starting this program.

“We have another 61 skilled refugees still waiting for any job opportunity.”

Mr Dacho said Refugee Intern was the ideal opportunity for both employers and employees.

“Nobody wants to come here and not work when they were all working in their home country,” he said.

Ms Robson and Mr Dacho are inviting more businesses to log onto their website at and help refugees into settlement by offering any form of job opportunity.

Untapping skills and talent through new internships for refugees

Source : Sydney Morning Herald

As a refugee from Syria looking for work in Australia, Nirary Dacho is neither illiterate nor innumerate. Armed with two university degrees, his only barrier to finding a job is his lack of local work experience.

After arriving in Australia a year ago, the 29-year-old, who has a Masters degree in web science and a bachelor degree in IT, applied for more than 100 jobs without success. He has more than eight years of experience in the field and is qualified to work with Microsoft and Cisco systems.

Anna Robson and Nirary Dacho, creators of the start-up Refugee Intern, aimed at finding work placement and internships for refugees. Photo: James Brickwood

Anna Robson and Nirary Dacho, creators of the start-up Refugee Intern, aimed at finding work placement and internships for refugees. Photo: James Brickwood

“The main barrier was local experience,” he said.

After he appeared on television last year, some businesses contacted him with offers of work. He has just started a three-month contract with technology company Dolby where is working in software development.

“The job is very interesting,” he said.

Now he is helping other refugees get the work experience they need to find employment.

Late last year, he met his now business partner Anna Robson in Liverpool at a hackathon, a community initiative to help refugees find employment solutions through software and hardware development.

They have established, a self-funded digital platform to connect skilled refugees with companies offering internships or traineeships.

Ms Robson said the initiative aimed to solve the problem of refugees struggling to get work experience in their new country.

“We are focused on the refugees already here and making connections for highly skilled refugees with companies,” Ms Robson said.

“This has benefit not only for the refugees but the broader community.”

Immigration Minister Peter Dutton recently said many refugees were not numerate or literate in their own language, “let alone English”.

He told Sky News that, under a Greens’ policy to increase Australia’s intake of refugees from 13,750 people to 50,000 a year, many would “languish” in unemployment queues and on Medicare.

“So there would be a huge cost,” he said.

Ms Robson said historically refugees had “made a huge contribution to Australia, from Frank Lowy to Richard Pratt”.

“The existence of our business will prove [Mr] Dutton wrong,” she said. “We will show Australia the skills and expertise of people who want to make Australia a successful economy, as waves of refugees have done in this country for generations.

“Who knows, we might have the next Frank Lowy. All they need is a fair go.”

Ms Robson said she had met many skilled refugees at the Nauru detention centre when she worked from 2014 and 2015 for the not-for-profit agency Save the Children.

She was aware that, despite being highly skilled and having years of work experience in their home countries, many refugees had struggled to find jobs in Australia because of a lack of work experience here.

“We now have 40 refugees on our platform,” she said. “We are meeting with companies to try to place the refugees into either internships or employment”.

The idea is to connect refugee job seekers to prospective employers through an algorithm that matches their skills and experience with employer needs. Ms Robson hopes this will give refugees crucial work experience to help them integrate into Australian society and make companies more diverse and inspire innovation.

“We have an under-utilised resource of refugee talent and they are not using their skills and experience,” Ms Robson said. “So we are connecting them up with companies that are looking for a more diverse workforce, fulfilling corporate social responsibility.

“We have just started and are reaching out to companies. The idea is to build it to a point where we have enough companies advertising on our website so we can just match them up.”