Refugee Hackathon – what’s that?

Random Hacks of Kindness, 2011
Hackathons are events for developing software in small groups, for example on a (long) weekend. Programmers, designers (graphics, interface, etc.), people with specialized knowledge about the specific requirements and organisational talents work together.

Also see “What is a Hackathon“.

And why do we do that?

The news and images of the past few weeks will most probably not leave anyone cold. Arson attacks at refugee homes or the suffering of the refugees on their arduous and perilous escape routes are shocking, but at the same time, the wave of helpfulness – fortunately also here in Germany – is moving.

But very often there are difficulties which may be reduced with digital solutions, for example by better matching donations in kind or time at a certain place and time with real needs. In addition, there are many different challenges for refugees in Germany, where simpler access to information and existing services can reduce barriers to integration. Very often, this approach can also be solved with practical apps that can be used at a smartphone.

We want to develop such solutions together at a refugee hackathon weekend at 23.- 25. 10. 2015 in Berlin.Random Hacks of Kindness 2011

Sequence of events

At Friday, Oct 23rd, there will be a requirements workshop in which we want to bring together those who know best what kind of solutions make the most sense: what problems there are, how they can be solved by technology, and how this solution must be designed to also meet the expectations. Participants should be those who have most experience with the needs, e.g.: refugees, people in refugee organizations or grassroots initiatives, but also from public authorities. The results of this workshop should be as clearly defined as possible as “a wish list” for applications that are to be developed at the hackathon on the following two days, Oct. 24th/25th 2015. Already now, we are collecting existing solutions.

Open Source for all

We do not want the “App-wheels” reinvented over and over again, therefore we want to develop modular applications that will then be available on the code-sharing platform Github as open source. So can everyone who wants, build on these applications or adapt them to different needs.

Organization – work in progress

A small team is now wildly organizing, but still much remains to be done to make the hackathon successful. Everybody who wants can contribute. You can find out what is required on the pages ideas, money and skills. We do not only seek people with programming or design knowledge, but also a lot of other competencies. The creatives should be able to completely concentrate on their work at the hackathon, but that requires an optimal environment with carefree service – which needs to be financed and organized.
We would be very happy if you could support this worthy cause, no matter in what way and spread the idea in your networks. Our hashtag is #refugeehackathon.

More hackathons

There is already a satellite event in Mannheim (17.10), perhaps thereOhne Mate geht beim Hackathon nichts ;) will be even more – it depends primarily on you, because if you want to have one at your favorite venue, then you definitely need to take the orga into your own hands. We will be happy to put you on the list of participating hackathons and support you with tips. In Sheffield (UK) there is also a hackathon in preparation.


For those who want to help, there is a registration form here. For other questions, we also have a contact form.

We are very happy and look forward to the refugee hackathon!