Chatbot helps asylum seekers prepare for their interviews

Chatbot helps asylum seekers prepare for their interviews

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MarHub is a new chatbot developed by students at the University of California-Berkeley’s Haas School of Business to help asylum seekers through the complicated process of applying to become an official refugee – which can take up to 18 months – and to avoid using smugglers.

Finding the right information for the asylum process isn’t easy, and although most asylum seekers are in possession of a smartphone, a lot of the information is either missing or out of date. MarHub is designed to help with that, as it will walk the user through what they can expect and also how to present their case. MarHub is also expandable, so that new information or regulations can be quickly added to make it a hub of useful information.

The concept of MarHub was born in late 2016, in response to the Hult Prize social enterprise challenge, which was focusing on refugees for 2017. The development team quickly realized that there was a gap in the market which they felt they could fill. MarHub will initially be made available through Facebook, and then later on WhatsApp and text messaging.

There are plenty of organizations helping the worldwide refugee crisis, including a German startup that uses digital footprints to help refugees open a bank account, and a non-profit organization that provides an educational programme allowing refugees to earn degrees. What other original ways could we implement to help refugees and the process of asylum?


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