Open Source and Cloud beyond tech – Keynote at DrupalCamp Bulgaria Nov 2015

logo_small_sx_1 The keynote at DrupalCamp Bulgaria was planned to be left field from the get go, however it went a little further out after Paris came under attack on the night of the 13th of November 2015.

#JeSuiBaghdad #JeSuiParis #JeSuiBeirut #JeSuiChibok #JeSuiKarachi #JeSuiMadrid #JeSuiDamascus #JeSuiAnkara #JeSuiLondon Dalai Lama Quote 2015 #JeSuiMali the list goes on, but other than on the bench solidarity what are we doing as individuals, as a community to facilitate and help build a better safer, cohesive and a pluralist society?

As a FOSS community we are constantly talking of give-back but are we engaged enough?

How could we take the strengths and learnings that make us a successful tech community to wider non tech audiences with a view of creating social transformation that addresses the needs of our societies in these turbulent times. What can we learn from the transformation FOSS and the Cloud has had on our ecosystem as technologists and how can we export that beyond tech to heal and build a stronger society?

I have more questions for discussions than answers however there is an inflight and successful start made by Peace Through Prosperity using Agile, Open source and Cloud to deliver social transformation programs that could be a starting point for the Drupal community to engage with in their own geographies. The open source component of this program is in development and work in progress can be seen here, if you’d like to contribute and #GiveBack beyond our bubble please get in touch over Twitter or Linkedin.

Links shared within the keynote slides:

The presentation from the keynote:


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Giveback goes #Local in #London (Good hair days for the homeless)

Give back has taken many forms for us, from PTP in conflict affected geographies in Pakistan to hot meals to soup kitchens in London.  A few weeks ago whilst nattering with Vangeli (Van)  my 2nd go to barber at Grooms barbers in Orpington another form of giveback came to mind, Vangeli (Van) a young enthusiastic character from north London wanted in on giveback. Then and there it was decided taking Van’s skills to the homeless in London will be his giveback; “if you look good the world looks at you differently right?” It was Van’s rhetorical question but is as true as it can get. I’ve experienced it first hand whilst doing field research for PTP

We spent a weekend planning and Van getting his kit together and on Sunday 1st November we headed off to London looking for willing participants. The deal is I take care of the awareness, ‘the digital front’ as Van puts it and he’ takes care of the grooming. Our aim is to take this beyond London i.e open source it!

We set up some rules, cruel they may sound but no drunks and no junkies, this is about empowering those who want a better future and want off the streets, we have limited resources and as such are keen to invest them in the right individuals. So the process starts off with a chat on who they are and what they want for themselves, any inclination of wanting off the street and that’s our man/woman. We may or may not follow these rules, we may flex and alter them in the future but on day one that’s what we stuck to.

free hair cuts for the homeless Meet George Adam 21 and homeless in London, George is a charmer, hard not to take a liking to this young man! He wants to get himself in a shelter, wants to get an address so that he can apply for a HGV license. George’s ambition is get a HGV license , get a job, go to a party, meet a girl and have a normal life. The least we could do was start him off with a smart haircut and a lunch, in return George educated us on the trials and tribulations of the homeless in London, thank you for adding to our body of knowledge George. Our foray this afternoon also got us introduced to Paul the park warden for Lower Grosvenor Gardens, Paul was apologetic for asking us to leave the park as he was closing down, and pointed us to a few homeless haunts for us to explore next weekend in search of other deserving candidates for Van’s services. Thanks Paul.

free hair cuts for the homeless

George, before and after his free haircut and shave

The ask for barbers reading this post (or for you as a topic of conversation the next time you’re in a barber’s chair) is to step forward and volunteer an hour or two over one weekend a month in their own town/cities, and of course we’re looking for a couple of volunteers in London around Victoria and the Westend, Van is off travelling in a couple of months and we’d like to carry on with this sort of giveback. However whilst travelling Van will be taking this giveback to cities he’s travelling to and my job is to convince other stylists and barbers to do the same in their cities and raise awareness of the state of the homeless across the third rock. We’ll be off next Sunday again, check back then for an update!


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