Opening Horizons – Humans in the Loop helps young refugees to restart their lives

Humans in the Loop reported the impact of the grant received with the support of AmCham members and We Can Fund. The social enterprise provides data training and human input for the Machine Learning industry and makes sure to employ people from vulnerable groups (especially refugees) and ethically reward them.

An year ago, in 2018, Iva Gumnashka, the creator of Human in the Loop, was among the finalists in the Rinker’s Challenge # 4 Social Entrepreneurship Program, organized by the Rinker Center at BCause Foundation.

A few months later, Iva’s Humans in the Loop got a small grant of BGN 3000 from the We Can Fund, supported by AmCham’s Thanksgiving charity dinner. The funds complement the basic salaries and social security of three refugees – two young women and one boy – for a period of 4 months.

M. is 20 and with primary education from Syria. He worked in an Arabic shop and he has good communication and computer skills.

Y. is 26 years old, from Syria. She studied architecture at the University of Aleppo, and this year she graduated from a Bachelor of Arts at the Technical University in Sofia. She is good with programs such as AutoCad and Photoshop.

U. is 27 years old, from Pakistan. She has a Masters in Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Peshavar, Pakistan. She speaks very good English as well as Urdu, and has worked as a child teacher. She has very good PC skills.



The three of them joined the program with great motivation – 6 hours work, 2 hours training, each day. They have become among the first full time employees of the enterprise, gaining experience and skills, so that next, the company may help their next steps in career developmentĀ  and recommend them for more senior positions in other technological companies. M. and Y. still work in Humans in the Loop. U. chose to move to Austria.

The funding from the BCause Foundation and AmCham helped in the first four months of the project, after which the social enterprise managed to cover the wages and benefits of young people in order to continue working. Humans in the Loop managed to build a solid customer base and a flow of requests for services.


“We believe that through this project we have made the first step towards long-term change in the young peoples’ professional development by investing in human capital and their abilities, creating soft skills for work and motivation for learning, and opening up their horizons to professions with greater added value, which they could also perform as freelancers remotely, and as employees in technology companies “- says Iva Gumnishka.


“We are happy to say that we have a large number of people who help us in our activity,” says Iva Gumnishka. – Our technical mentor, Mark Strefford, is a man with a lot of experience in the field of artificial intelligence, who always helps us with contacts and advice. In addition, we have a group of 5 volunteers who participate in our English and computer skills training as instructors and who are available to join our activities. We also rely heavily on our partners from the Bulgarian Red Cross, Caritas and the Council of Refugee Women to provide social mediation and translation. We specialize exclusively in work with refugees in Bulgaria,” explains Iva, “and in the design of our programs, we have taken into account many characteristics of this target group so that we can provide it with the appropriate support. We have considered the accessibility of work that does not require English or Bulgarian knowledge, and we have appointed two people as supervisors to facilitate communication with those who would not understand the instructions because of the language barrier. We have taken into account holidays such as Ramadan and other weekends for Muslims in setting the business hours of the enterprise.