Students develop new app to aid refugees seeking asylum

Cesare Dunker, a Politics and International relations student, and Rayyan Sorefan a Law student, both from Kent University, won Kent’s Big Ideas Competition, which gave them the opportunity to compete in an international entrepreneurship competition at Virginia Tech, USA, where their idea won a $5,000 top prize.

Cesare and Rayyan presenting the project at Virginia Tech, USA
Cesare and Rayyan presenting the project at Virginia Tech, USA

Cesare and Rayyan designed a new innovative app called eLog. The app can help immigration departments distinguish between genuine and fraudulent asylum claims.

The app tracks an asylum seekers migration using geo-tagging, time mapping, and photo recognition. This enables asylum seekers to build their own comprehensive asylum case, helping immigration departments process genuine asylum cases faster, and detect fraudulent cases.

The idea was born after Cesare had witnessed the Refugee Crisis first hand while travelling through Europe in 2015, and then reading an Independent article titled: ‘Surprised that Syrian refugees have smartphones? Sorry to break this to you, but you are an idiot’. Cesare realised that the phones refugees were carrying could be used to allow for a new form of technological humanitarian aid.

Google Maps navigates asylum seekers through Europe, and translation apps help overcoming language barriers in different European countries. Asylum seekers are clearly using smartphone technology to get to and through Europe, so why not use it to gather documentation in order to apply for asylum?

Winning the $5,000 top prize secured a first investment, and eLog will continue the development of what they call ‘technological humanitarian aid’ at the University of Kent’s HIVE facility.