On 8 June 2023 the final of the competitive part of the hackathon “Beyond Borders: breaking stereotypes, building bridges” took place, which is part of the project “Support for the development of integration policies and services for refugees in Sofia” and was funded by UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, and organized by Sofia Development Association.
The 4 teams that signed up for the competition took part in the final, which was held at the SofíaLab, and presented their projects to a jury. Their challenge was to create an online campaign that opposes the use of discriminatory language and hostile attitudes towards refugees and migrants.
They were evaluated by an expert jury including Boris Cheshirkov from UNHCR, Denitsa Lozanova from Sofia Development Association, media expert Polly Zaharieva, journalist Nadia Obretenova, and Sara AlKaf, interior architect and member of the Refugee Advisory Council.
The team “Magicians for a Better World” presented their project “United in Diversity”, which involves filming a video with refugee and migrant children and celebrating different dates (International Day for the Protection of Child Victims of Aggression and International Day of Refugees) through a number of events and visits.
Team Pupe6, for their part, introduced the jury to their idea for the online platform Connectify, which aims to connect refugee children with organizations, volunteers, and companies in Bulgaria, giving them the opportunity to develop and rebuild in a new environment.
The team under the title “Citizens of a united world” talked about the project “A united world beyond borders”, in the framework of which they will organize a photo exhibition, organization of various events, as well as a social experiment related to the building of ties between people, regardless of their ethnicity or nationality.
Team Fight Club EG shared their idea for the “Behind the Curtain” campaign.
After evaluation by the jury, the team “Citizens of a United World” was selected as the winner and received a prize of BGN 3,000 for the implementation of their idea.
They were followed by Fight Club EG, Wizards for a Better World, and Pupe6, who came second, third, and fourth respectively in the competition and also received cash prizes to bring their concepts to reality.
Over the next two weeks, all teams will aim to implement their projects, with the presentation of the results on 23 June, as well as the effects of the campaigns already created in the affected communities.
The Hackathon is part of the project “Support for the development of integration policies and services for refugees in Sofia” and is funded by UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, and organized by Sofia Development Association.