Civil Rights Activist and Author Maya Angelou said: "I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel." Our team hopes to ensure foreign-born individuals feel accepted and are able to navigate their new communities.


During the subject matter expert panel we repeatedly found ourselves asking, is xyz problem something that a web search could help immigrants answer instead? This led us down a new line of thinking: because of their unique circumstances, foreign-born individuals require additional context and detail in order to support the requests they have. In addition to case workers, our solution formed around 1) automated guidance and 2) foreign-born individual crowd-sourced knowledge sharing.

What it does

Maya is a comprehensive platform that connects foreign-born individuals to information and resources they need. The mobile platform supports every language for texting, WhatsApp, and a native application. Users can become acquainted with Maya through texting and WhatsApp for Q&A, and evolve to utilize the mobile application for sharing the challenges they face and connecting with others in similar situations. Maya collects data in an anonymized and aggregated fashion to provide key insights for service providers to understand the populations they work with.

How we built it

Maya is powered by 8 different technologies and integrations

  1. Twilio SMS integration
  2. Twilio WhatsApp integration
  3. IBM Watson logic trees
  4. AWS lambdas for APIs
  5. DynamoDB
  6. Native mobile app
  7. React front end dashboard
  8. IBM Watson Cognitive Discovery

Challenges we ran into

During our ideation phase, we sometimes let our imaginations and desires to build grand solutions get the best of us. This led to some time spent churning on similar, redundant ideas, but once we found our stride, things progressed very quickly.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

One of the most exciting moments during the hackathon was when Maya returned the correct translated answer in Chinese in response to one of our team member's queries. The entire Twilio/Whatsapp/Google Translate integration was something we had not combined before and became an integral part of our platform.

What we learned

The IBM suite has some really cool tools for decision trees and scanning text. In future hackathons, we would definitely like to incorporate more of them.

What's next for Maya

Items on our to-do list include better flushing out the logic for the decision trees better, including more support for the mobile app in our back end services, and working with service providers to determine what metrics they would care about.

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