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Inspire change through programming, so refugees can build bridges for a future beyond basic needs.

We provide technology education for refugees, developing creativity and integration enabling them to dignified future through skilled employ

Photo of Caio Rodrigues
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What problem does the idea help to solve and how does your solution work? (2,000 characters maximum)

Toti was born in 2016, one of the years that Brazil and Rio de Janeiro most received refugees. The most recurring nationality is the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It was then, students of the Federal Technology College decided to create a project that would support these people who were forced to leave their countries. Throughout 2017 we met Nsuka Kaluba, who is a refugee and leader of the Congolese Community of Rio de Janeiro. Nsuka was and is very important in our journey because through him we have been able to create ever stronger solutions that really focus on solving refugee problems. From him we understand that the biggest challenges faced by refugees are: Documentation, Housing and Employability. Toti focus on Employability, but not any employability but a qualified employer with future prospects. After testing some areas such as Entrepreneurship and Gastronomy, we gathered feedback with the refugees and saw that these areas were not so sought after by them. It was then that we decided to opt for the area of ​​programming, web development, which generated a great interest in them, showing us a new possibility to follow. And in 2018 we decided to open a refugee programming school, understanding their needs and so taking a personalized course, we opened our first class. In order to our classes to be grounded in theory, we partnered with an internationally recognized Brazilian programming school called MasterTech, which has its teaching practices recognized by google and MIT who shared their class menu and trained our teachers. We are currently in our second class working with 5 different nationalities, for the refugees the course is completely free and even receive support to finance transportation to class. In addition we also have Brazilians who pay to learn how to program in a class made up of refugees, thus helping to fund the course.After graduation, we connect them to companies that want to hire them, thus closing a cycle to solve this problem.

Geography of focus (500 characters)

Today Toti works with a refugee community established in Rio de Janeiro - Brazil. Within these communities are Congolese, Haitian and Venezuelan refugees. We also work with vulnerable immigrants with nationalities such as Colombia and Cuba. In 2019 had 70,8 million of refugees in the world, witch makes refugees employability such a global concern. And, in order to achieve others refugees’ communities in another states and countries, is one of our projections expand Toti’s work beyond Brazil.

Building Bridges: What bridge does your idea build between people on the move and neighbors towards a shared future of stability and promise? (500 characters)

We believe that people with different backgrounds and thoughts, by working together, generate more innovative solutions. Toti's main goal is to educate refugees in web development and, after that, build bridges with companies that also believe that diversity of people is essential to increase their productivity and ability to generate innovation, to employ them and to change the course of their lives in Brazil.

What human need is your idea solving for? (1,000 characters)

In the post-digital age in which we live, entering the job market has become much more than just making money for the time you spend in some activity. By having a job, people seek joy, dignity, satisfaction. Toti's differential is to promote professional training in the web development area and build bridges with companies in the qualified IT market, so that refugees are employed in this sector. . Our goal is for the refugee to enter a work area with high employability rates, good future prospects and professional growth; where he can work with decent working conditions, earning a good salary. So that you can reestablish your life and that of your family. Toti's impact goes beyond entering the job market, we aim to inspire a total change in the lives of refugees.

What will be different within the community of focus as a result of implementing your idea? (1,000 characters)

Toti's purpose is to inspire change in the lives of refugees by building bridges through education, diversity and information technology. By promoting a programming course for refugee communities, we are opening up a range of new opportunities to enter the job market, new ways to solve problems and new perspectives for their lives. And when we connect them with technology companies, change takes place on both sides: refugees have the opportunity to gain a foothold in the Brazilian labor market, restructure their lives financially and reinsert themselves into society, being in constant contact with the Brazilian population. On the other hand, companies have the opportunity to form a more culturally diverse team of people from diverse backgrounds, increasing their productivity and ability to generate more innovative solutions to their challenges.

What is the inspiration behind your idea? (1,000 characters)

At the beginning of Toti, we worked in collaboration with the Congolese Community of Brazil - a refugee community from the DRC - led by Nsuka Kaluba, who believed in our willingness to create a solution for refugees. With him, we understand what were the greatest pains experienced by refugees in. Through several immersions and meetings with Nsuka Kaluba and its community, we come to three main issues: Housing, Documentation, and Employability. From this, we had the necessary background to make the decision to create an initiative that would work for the employability of refugees in the Brazilian market, so as to meet the demands, needs and prioritizing the community vision. In addition, Toti was born from a group of students from a Technology College in the city of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, which made us see the transformative power of the Technology area in people's lives, in addition to the great demand from the market and high prospects for growth opportunity within companies.

Describe the dynamics of the community in which the idea is to be implemented. (1,000 characters)

Toti currently works in collaboration with refugee communities established in Rio de Janeiro of various nationalities: Congolese, Colombian, Venezuelan and Cuban. According to UNHCR, in 2019 there were a total of 70.8 million refugees worldwide and 170,000 applicants and refugees in Brazil. The biggest challenges faced by refugees in Brazil are documentation, access to decent housing and opportunities in the skilled labor market. Factors that make it difficult to rebuild their lives in Brazil in a dignified manner. A great opportunity for refugees is that many already arrive in Brazil with degrees in areas of Technology, Engineering and exact sciences, facilitating their learning in the course of Toti and its consequent entry into the job market. In addition, they are willing and eager to learn, a feature that is extremely sought after by technology companies.

How does your idea leverage and empower community strengths and assets to help create an environment for success? (1,000 characters)

Toti is responsible for promoting vocational education for refugee communities through a programming course. And after graduation, we build bridges to connect IT professionals and companies in the job market. As refugees selected to participate in Toti classes already have experience in the fields of IT, Engineering and exact sciences from their home countries, Toti enhances their technical skills and opens up opportunities to put them into practice in the labor market. In addition, we accept Brazilian students in the course, who pay the tuition for their vocational education and contribute to a refugee's gratuity; thus enhancing the generation of a more inclusive environment in the course. Toti also contributes to the diversification of companies in the Brazilian labor market, which enhance their ability to solve internal problems and increase their productivity from more diverse teams, with greater intercultural experiences and more innovation-friendly environments.

What other partners or stakeholders will work alongside you in implementing the idea, if any? (1,000 characters)

Current partners: WeWork, MasterTech, Laje AC, CEFET/RJ, OLX, IEEE, Instituto Four, Estação Hack Facebook and Shell Iniciativa Jovem. Future partners: UN, UNHRC, Google, Apple, Microsoft, Accenture and IBM.

What part of the displacement journey is your solution addressing

  • Arriving and settling at a destination community

Tell us how you'd describe the type of innovation you are proposing

  • Service: A new or enhanced service that creates value for end beneficiaries

Idea Proposal Stage

  • Pilot: We have started to implement the idea as a whole with a first set of real users. The feasibility of an innovation is tested in a small-scale and real world application (i.e. 3-15% of the target population)

Group or Organization Name


Tell us more about your group or organization [or lived experience as a displaced person?] (1000 characters)

Toti was started by young university students who have a strong desire to transform the reality of refugees people. During the early years we had a lot of learning and a very strong connection with the Congolese community which made us understand very well the reality lived and create a great sense of responsibility and empathy for those people. All this was made possible only by the Nsuka Kaluba we affectionately call Dada. He arrived in Brazil in 2002 fleeing the war that raged in Congo for many years. And since it has struggled to improve the quality of life of refugees based here. As soon as he arrived in Brazil he started working as a hairdresser and a few years later and with a lot of struggle managed to have his own hairdresser. He is for us an example of overcoming, clawing passion for the refugee cause, which motivates us every day to take it one step further.

Website URL:

Type of submitter

  • We are a For-Profit Startup or Startup Social Enterprise

Organization Headquarters: Country


Organization Headquarters: City / State

Rio de Janeiro


Join the conversation:

Photo of Uchenna Okafor

Quite amazing! I am blown away by the wave of this unique idea. Please, do not leave behind the disabled persons among these refugees and natives in this sure solution. Disabled persons such as the deaf, dumb, blind, lame, etc are the most displaced and most vulnerable of all times, often resulting from almost generally accepted discrimination by the society. It seems almost like a global conspiracy against this group.

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