Digital Platforms for Refugees and Migrants Sandbox

Leader: Walter Fernandez
Academic Members: Fethi Rabhi, UNSW Sydney; Olivera Marjanovic, University of Technology Sydney; Manuel Wiesche, Technical University of Munich; Maximilian Schreieck, Technical University of Munich


On arrival, refugees are dependent on timely information about the essential aspects of the daily life in the host country. Accessing services such as the Internet, money transfer services, healthcare, children education, language, and reaching the relevant points of contact to transit the steps of the asylum process, presents a new challenge to already traumatised people. Unfortunately, the much-needed information is scattered across many stakeholders and thus inaccessible or confusing in the extreme. The Digital Platforms for Refugees Sandbox aims to facilitate the creation of digital ecosystems of digital services for refugees. Such an ecosystem will integrate and deliver information to refugees and to those organisations involved in supporting, employing, educating, and caring for refugees.

Participating Organizations (in alphabetical order): 

CORE Community Services (CORE CS)

CORE Community Services Ltd, is a not-for-profit client-centred organisation operating from eleven sites across South Western Sydney and a member of the NSW Settlement Partnership, a consortium of organisations that deliver settlement services in NSW.

CORE stands for Caring, Opportunity, Respect and Empowerment, values that guide CORE CS in the delivery of services, activities and programs to diverse communities. Governed by a volunteer board, CORE CS receives funding from all levels of government, philanthropic trusts, and individual donations. The Department of Social Services funds CORE CS to assist newly arrived refugees, humanitarian entrants, and migrant by enhancing their knowledge and access to local services. CORE CS supports new settlers to Fairfield in their first five years, encouraging their independence and participation in the Australian community.

Parents Café Fairfield Inc. (PCFI)

The Parents Café Fairfield Inc. (PCFI), is a not-for-profit organisation operating out of Fairfield High School that engages newly arrived parents with the Australian education system and promotes social inclusion.

The Parents Cafe’s mission is to enhance community integration and cohesion. Accordingly, the PCFI provides programs that facilitate the settlement of refugees and immigrants, foster social inclusion and belonging, connect with other services, and develop new skills that are critical to the wellbeing of the people served by the Parents Cafe. These programs aim to provide parents with the skills required to experience a successful settlement journey. In doing so, the PCFI helps parents to become more active and more informed partners in their children’s education while providing these parents with opportunities for further training and career pathways.

Tür an Tür Digital Factory

The non-profit organization Tür an Tür Digital Factory was founded in 2016 and has its headquarters in Augsburg, near Munich in Germany. The aim of the Digital Factory is to develop concepts and solutions that make digitalization tangible in the context of integration, education, civic engagement and development aid.

The main project of the Digital Factory is the Integreat Platform. Integreat addresses the lack of information for newcomers such as refugees in a new country. Integreat is capable of breaking this information barrier through technology by giving a tool to integration experts to share their knowledge to a huge audience of newcomers. Integreat is a smartphone app and a website for newcomers to get all necessary information. The information is provided by local integration experts directly in the Integreat system for which no technological know-how is needed.

Impact Statement

In consultation with key stakeholders, this research initiative has three key objectives:

  1. Identify informational needs and sources for the provision of services to refugees and host communities. Thus, co-creating a roadmap showing how to implement technologies that can improve the lives of the refugees, providing positive outcomes for them and the host communities.
  2. Expose the potential latent in information technologies; such potential can be leveraged by local, state and federal governments, companies, not-for-profit organisations, community service providers, and education institutions.
  3. Help to develop applications can help refugees in the first few months in the host country, thus illustrating the benefits of digital platforms as integrating mechanisms that are feasible, sustainable, transferable, and scalable.