Croatian Students Create Portal for Refugees

Total Croatia News


Four VERN students who came up with a Portal for Refugees thrilled the judges at the Hult Prize Competition held March 3-4 in San Francisco, reported on Thursday, March 16.

The Hult Prize Foundation is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to launching the world’s next wave of social entrepreneurs. It encourages the world’s brightest business minds to compete in teams to solve the planet’s biggest challenges with innovative ideas for sustainable start-up enterprises.

The 2017 Hult Prize “President’s Challenge” is “Refugees – Reawakening Human Potential” and will focus on restoring the rights and dignity of people and societies who may be, or are forced into motion due to social injustices, politics, economic pressures, climate change and war.


Karlo Tašler, Anto Lovrinović, Jan Martinjaš and Tomislav Zvonarek, or the Narrators Team, applied for the regional competition in November 2016 with their idea of a portal where refugees work as journalists and write stories about other refugees.

“That way our readers can read unique stories about refugees that can’t be found on other portals. The reason is simple: refugees have a hard time opening up to journalists, but the situation is completely different if the journalist is a refugee as well.” Tin explained.

Hult cover pravi
Source: VERN

They competed for a USD1 million prize against some of the best universities and colleges in the world, including Stanford, Harvard, Oxford and MIT and even though they didn’t win, they say that the reactions from the judges and other teams were extremely positive so they’re satisfied with the result.

Karlo says that it took three months to get to where they are now – a beta website containing several stories. They worked together with Jesuit Refugee Service at the refugee centre in Zagreb where they talked to asylum seekers and held trainings for their journalists.

The team says that their aim is to show that refugees are people and not terrorists as they are often portrayed in the mainstream media.

The projects has three goals: giving refugees an opportunity to work, changing the negative perception about refugees, and giving them an opportunity to show their talents, skills and make them visible at the job market. 

The four students are currently looking for funding so they can provide equipment (laptop, cameras), hire journalists, build a real website and make a difference.


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