Mojahed, a young informatics engineer turned tech entrepreneur is getting wide-spread acclaim for launching Gherbtna, an app that connects Syrian refugees to their information needs, depending on their geographic location. The app includes job listings, video, alerts, a message board, advice and information on services Syrians might need to help them settle into their new lives – from language classes, applying for work permits, opening bank accounts, medical assistance, and yes, even Syrian sweet shops.
After moving to Turkey, Mojahed describes his own journey – struggling to learn the new language, navigating new rules, regulations and paperwork, and figuring out his rights in a new country. After working for a Turkish tech company for a year, which helped him learn Turkish, and mobile app development, Mojahed, started his own business.
Since launching Gherbtna, Mojahed has received a lot of publicity, and has been invited to attend and speak at conferences around the world, although he is constrained in his ability to obtain visas for travel overseas because of his Syrian passport.
Since launching his business in Turkey, Mojahed’s small but growing company employs 10 people, and he hopes to double that over the next 12 months. “Our app [Gherbtna] has now had over 100,000 downloads, we received between six and eight thousand daily hits on our website, and we are planning to open a training center in the coming months.”
In his pursuit to further help simplify the lives of Syrians in Turkey, Mojahed then launched Tarjemly-Live, a live translation platform for Syrians (Similar to Uber for ride-sharing, and Fiverr for freelancers) where freelance translators who sign up to the platform can provide live translation services to users via SMS and phone for a fee.
This gig-economy style business model, Mojahed hopes, will create jobs for Syrian and Turks, while addressing the most pressing needs of Syrian refugees settling into their new lives in Turkey.