Lincoln Network presents

Refugee Hackathon

A 48-hour challenge building creative solutions that help refugees

7:00pm Friday, April 1 – 6:00pm Sunday, April 3
The Garage - 848 Spring St NW, Atlanta, GA
Register for free now


Put your coding and creative skills to work helping refugee communities in Georgia and around the world at the Refugee Hackathon, hosted at Sandbox ATL Garage in Atlanta.

Refugee Hackathon is a 48-hour challenge where developers, UX/web/graphic designers and non-technical problem solvers form teams and build creative solutions that help refugees.

You don’t need to have prior experience working on refugee projects. We will provide detailed outlines for various software solutions that could benefit refugee communities, either directly or indirectly.

Representatives from leading community groups, tech companies, refugee agencies and others will be on hand to participate, provide guidance and support, as well as feedback and input on the solutions being developed.


Friday, April 1


Check-In & Networking Reception


Hackathon Opening Remarks


Panel on Understanding Problems Confronting Refugees and the Organizations that Serve Refugees


Team Formation


Hackathon Begins

Saturday, April 2

All Day

Hackathon Continues

Sunday, April 3


Hackathon Finishes


Lunch + Presentation Prep


Presentations, Awards & Closing Remarks




J.D. McCrary - Keynote/Panelist

Executive Director, International Rescue Committee - Atlanta

Luisa Cardona - Panelist

Deputy Director, Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs - Welcoming Atlanta

Benjamin Basnet - Judge/Panelist

Case Specialist, World Relief Organization

Tyler Scriven - Judge

Investor and Former Chief of Staff at Palantir

Brian Reich - Speaker

Director, The Hive (Special Project of USA For UNHCR)

Susanna Spiccia - Judge

Executive Director, re:imagine/ATL

Sarah Feinberg - Panelist

Refugee Family Host, former Marine Corps Captain, Refugee Job Developer in Virginia

Kuan Sng - Judge

Senior Director, Direct & Digital Response @ CARE USA

Felix Hu - Judge

Head of Design, Calendly

Moriah Shiddat - Judge

Network Coordinator, Welcoming America

Joanie Twersky - Judge

Senior Marketing Manager, Atlanta Foundry

Adaobi Iheduru - Panelist

Clinical Psychologist and Team Lead, Center for Victims of Torture

Erin Dunne - Judge

Engagement Architect, Hive (A Special Project of UNHCR)

Problem Statements and Big Ideas

Customer Segment Problem Big Idea
First Responders Limited staff size and the ability to accommodate the overwhelming number of dialects that can come from just one region makes it difficult for first responders to educate as the refugees in need A learning tool for instructors of cultural orientation programs that gives the organization the ability to track client’s progress across learning goals
Resettlement Specialists Course materials aren’t accessible on a central platform where program providers can download and deliver to refugee clients; clients can digitally complete assignments and automatically receive credit An e-learning platform where program managers can upload curriculum, and allows providers to download course materials. Future version allows refugees to digitally complete assignments and automatically receive credit
Refugee Therapists Therapists can't reach the clients live in rural areas or can't make it to the office A telemedicine platform that allows therapists to provide sessions remotely
Domestic Advocates Domestic advocates don’t know how and when online users engage with awareness campaigns; Advocacy campaigns can’t instantly target or target educators online who are willing to advocate for refugee education "Real-time tracking tools that notifies the team when prospects move up the engagement ladder that also gives them the capability of automatically initiate certain re-engagement activities (i.e. repost, retweet, email, share, etc.)"
Welcoming Communities Spends a lot of time helping refugees with bachelor's and advanced colleges to understand how their degrees translate to US standards, and what types of additional educational certifications are required for similar employment in the United States. Continued development of a “Degree Translation” infographic into a database which can, ultimately, connect other educational databases via API’s.
Local Agencies (International) Refugee clients have no way to advance educational records from original country’s education to current school – and host country and opportunities beyond. iRecords – recovering and advancing education certifications. a unified, certified system for offline storage of educational achievement, official records and certifications, and translating and passing on knowledge for refugee students and their families.
International Advocates Difficulty getting refugees through social barriers, gaining understanding of their new culture, local languages and resources A way to connect displaced teens with peers from the country they are moving to using Whatsapp about non-formal education (food, culture, transportation, hobbies, and work)
Refugee Camp Gatekeeprs Sees teenage refugees with extra time on their hands and the need to bring in money for family Platform that connects teenage refugees with the hiring and providing community (donors + private sector contributors)
NGOs Hard time helping teenage refugees assimilate into new culture Internship matching program with local small business community - refugees learn language, local customs and culture, gain job training, assimilate into society, could earn points for asylum process, possibly high school credits.
Local Agencies (International) Too many refugees with disabilites don't know where to go upon arrival Desktop/mobile app with directories of facilities and services that are friendly for people with disabilities

Developer Toolkit

For details on the pitch competition as well as other tips/tools for hackathon success, check out the Developer Toolkit we put together.


1st Place: $3500 cash
2nd Place: $1000 cash
3rd Place: $500 cash

Other non-cash prizes available too!


Why Refugees?

A refugee is someone who has been persecuted or has well-founded fear of potential persecution based on race, nationality, religion, membership in a particular group or political opinion and is unable or unwilling to return to their country of origin. Unlike migrants in search of economic opportunities, who can often access extensive friend and family networks to navigate language or other cultural barriers, new refugee populations usually lack this type of community resource upon arrival in America or wherever they settle.

In the United States, Congress passed the Refugee Act in 1980 and as you might imagine, far too much of the system remains stuck in the 20th century. The topic of refugees has been trending lately, but it’s far from a new story. Since 1975, the United States has offered safe-haven to over 3 million refugees who faced persecution in conflict-ridden regions of the world. Globally, if all refugees were counted as one population and one country, it would be among the top 25 largest.

We want to leverage the power of technology to create solutions that exponentially improve the refugee system and awareness of the global refugee crisis.

Why a refugee hackathon in Atlanta, Georgia?

Refugee policies and procedures are determined in Washington D.C., but nearly every state has an important role to play in the refugee system. Georgia has the right mix of incredibly talented people, refugee success models and southern hospitality - with a small dash of controversy - that could create a great recipe for empowering local change agents to amplify their impact within the communities they operate.


Lincoln Network

Lincoln Network was born from the optimistic view that when technology and government meet, under the right conditions and with the right tools, both worlds win. Through hackathons, meetups and online engagement, we provide opportunities for the entrepreneurial community to come together and both collaborate on and learn about market-based, tech-powered solutions to our nation's biggest problems.

Amplify 4 Good

At Amplify 4 Good, we believe our communities already have the resources within them to make the change we want to see happen, but the "change maker ecosystem" is highly inefficient. Therefore, we’ve designed a suite of programs and services to solve this massive problem.

We find really talented and passionate people, and teach them to think like tech startup entrepreneurs, using intense immersive experiences, in order to solve problems within their own communities.

Note on Directions/Parking

While The Garage at Tech Square’s address is at 848 Spring St, the entrance is on a side street. Make the right just before LA Fitness, and drive down to the parking deck on the right. Park there. The Garage is attached to this parking deck.