Techfugees – empowering refugees through innovation

Techfugees is a non-profit that’s established hundreds of projects around the world aimed at improving inclusion and opportunities for displaced individuals. We talk to its CEO about changing the narrative around migration, the need to empower refugees and the benefits of doing so.

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Raj Burman is CEO of international non-profit, Techfugees. This social purpose organisation mobilises the digital tech sector and volunteer community to empower displaced inclusion, including refugee digital skills/entrepreneurship, responsible digital innovations and redefining how companies work with displaced people.

Burman joined Techfugees in November 2020, having worked in both the commercial digital technology and social venture spaces. Having worked with refugees in the past, the organisation’s agenda was one very close to his heart.

The Techfugees movement began back in 2015, at the height of the “refugee crisis”. Burman recalls the haunting images of three-year-old Alan Kurdi’s body washed up on a Turkish beach, which are what spurred Techfugee’s founder and TechCrunch editor-at-large Mike Butcher to put out a call to action on Facebook. This galvanised technologists around the world to come together and look for ways to help the refugee community, and Techfugees was born.

“We look at innovations that empower inclusion and break down barriers for refugees,” says Burman, “and have a mandate to bring the unheard voices from displaced communities to the forefront. We’re changing the narrative around refugees and showing how they can be a positive contribution to society, rather than a burden.”

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