Karavan: The Refugee Work Exchange App

Help us launch a mobile app that empowers refugees through skill & service exchanges using a points system! We need $200,000 to create a new shared economy

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Empowering refugees through work exchange opportunities & community engagement

Karavan is smartphone & web application designed to empower refugees & foster integration at a community level by providing a platform to facilitate interactions and exchanges between refugees and residents around the world.


We are currently living through the largest mass migration since World War II - 60 million people are displaced worldwide as a result of wars, persecution and environmental destruction.

One of the greatest challenges facing society today is how best to build harmonious and tolerant communities. With the rise of nationalism perpetuating the fear of “outsiders” the potential for a united humanity is threatened. However, Studies show that innumerable psychological benefits arise from the feeling of contributing to one’s community, as well as from nurturing meaningful connections with others. Participation in the economic, cultural and social spheres is the most effective way of rehabilitating refugee populations.


At Karavan, our aim is to break down walls by enabling citizens and refugees to interact as equally empowered participants in a mutually beneficial transaction.


Work environments are some of the best places to meet people. However, asylum seekers are prohibited from earning money in many countries. Thus, they are left with very few social arenas in which to make friends, leading them to feel disconnected, isolated, and demoralised. Like us, they are individuals with unique talents and skills. They want to resume normal lives, make connections, feel productive and valuable, and feel a sense of belonging in their new communities.


Everyone has a skill to offer

That's the beauty of this app! Users create profiles detailing the skills and interests that they are willing to exchange using our safe and secure network. This could be anything from cooking lessons (or horse-riding!) and language training to legal advice, web design, medical care or emotional support.


Don't worry about the details, we've got it figured out

  •  Built in translation functions
  •   Messaging service
  •  GPS system allowing users to connect with others in their vicinity
  • A points system (‘peaces’), offering a non monetary compensation for services rendered, which citizens and refugees alike can accumulate or spend on other services
  • Verification system (much like “Air B&B” and Tinder) — using ratings and reviews to ensure a safe environment, and requiring users to connect their Facebook profiles
  • Monthly events in various cities -- "artists hang-out", "musicians jam-sesh", "potluck picnic", "film screenings", "Syrian cooking demo"


Born in the jungle...

Soraya is a BA/MA student at Columbia University, double-majoring in Film and Middle Eastern studies and specializing in post-colonial marginalization, displacement and migration. She advocates passionately about veganism, environmentalism and issues of exploitation through her website, online store and creative projects. She also studies several languages, and enjoys making documentary films and music. After having spent time studying, researching, visiting camps and interacting with refugees in Jordan and Europe (including “The Jungle”, northern France’s notorious unofficial refugee camp), Soraya sought an interdisciplinary approach to the crisis, spanning the humanitarian, political and academic realms. She wanted to develop an innovative tech solution that had significant scaleability; to create a global movement. The aim was to supersede typical humanitarian responses, which can sometimes be demeaning or unsustainable.

Karavan will launch in early 2017. The team have been gauging interest via the Facebook group Soraya started, which grew to nearly 4,000 members in two weeks. Meanwhile, they continue to do research projects in camps across Europe while encouraging more users to join the group. In addition they will be hosting events across major cities to raise money for app expenses.


Karavan is a non-profit charitable company. The initial funding we require will go towards app development -- an expensive process for such an ambitious project -- and then after we raise the initial 12k, the rest of our funds will go towards legal fees, marketing, registration and paying our dedicated and talented employees fair wages. So far, everything we have done has been out-of-pocket. We see our project as one that could shake things up in the world in a major way -- from homeless people to talented, struggling students, we believe that everyone should have a fair chance at independence. In order for this to be sustainable and grow into the worldwide movement we would like this to be, we need your help!


Please follow the links:

Facebook >> https://www.facebook.com/groups/refugeeworkexchange/ , https://www.facebook.com/refugeeworkexchange

Instagram.com/karavansary

Enquiries -> s.beheshti@columbia.edu


T-shirts will be shipped out in 3-6 months, or after 100 shirts have been ordered



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Grazie (Italy)


Get a social media shout-out, to an audience of over 14,000 people. You can also Skype with the founders. Your donation will go along way towards empowering refugees and aiding social justice!

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Danke (Germany)


Get a social media shout-out, to an audience of over 14,000 people. You can also Skype with the founders. Your donation will go along way towards empowering refugees and aiding social justice!

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Obrigado (Portugal)


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