Empowering Vulnerable Groups Through Technology
Chris Owen ( Computer Science, 2013, Pendle) talks about how he has used his technological skills to help refugees in northern Greece.
"During my time at Lancaster University I got my first taste of entrepreneurship in building an Android app for a group of PhD marketing student that was facilitated by the University. It was an experience that I valued immensely and it gave me the confidence I needed to work independently and for clients. From these beginnings I've always been interested in building products and working in small teams to create great work.
After graduating, I spent some time working in InfoLab21 with a small team building hardware to allow automation in people's homes. This experience of working in a small company where I had a lot of input to the direction of the company from the beginning was an invaluable experience for me.
Most recently, I travelled for a few weeks to volunteer in the refugee camps in northern Greece. What I found there were intelligent people who needed a chance to lift themselves from poverty and into sustainable safe jobs. Using my skills as a programmer and managing projects I've built a charity which teaches refugees how to be web developers with the aim of finding them work after they graduate from our course. In the short time that I've been out here we've been able to raise funding to support our school, reach out to organisations to find beneficiaries and start providing social impact to our donors.
The charity is called Social Hackers Academy (http://www.socialhackersacademy.org/) and so far we're guiding 20 students on their path to being software engineers passing on some of the knowledge that I gained in Lancaster University to people who are not lucky enough to attend.
Right now, we're crowdfunding to secure the future of our school for the next year -https://social-hackers-academy.causevox.com/"