Over the past couple of years, there have been several global crises that have severely impacted the lives of individuals around the world. However, one of the most recent, disturbing crises is the introduction of another government in Afghanistan that has caused crowds of people to flee the country as refugees in an attempt to save their lives. To aid this group of people, Canada created a refugee program. However, due to the large influx of refugees and the negative stigma surrounding refugees, they struggle to adapt to a new environment due to a lack of a secure job, sufficient resources and training programs. Although there are already programs that provide refugees with money and resume writing skills in order to help them find jobs, they are not enough to increase the self-esteem of new refugees as they simply provide monetary support or limited resources. Therefore, we decided to create a global non-profit organization, Bright Beginnings. Bright Beginning’s mission statement is to foster bright beginnings for marginalized groups such as refugees through both monetary and professional aid as well as education.

What it does

Bright Beginnings, along with the help of its partners and sponsors, provides refugees with free resources such as clothing, food and both mental and physical therapy. We also provide educational resources such as vital skills of resume and cover letter classes, English classes, accounting, customer service training, etc. In addition, our organization provides mini co-op sessions over a period of two days from our partners such as McDonald’s and Walmart to help new refugees gain a safe and secure job quickly. In this manner, refugees do not have to solely depend on government-funded money but are also able to educate themselves and find secure jobs while attending therapy to battle mental health issues or physical disabilities. In addition, our platform also provides educational and fun interactive sessions for children to help them fit in their new environment and feel at home.

How we built it

There are two main aspects to Bright Beginnings, the website and the app. Due to COVID-19, our platform is solely online however, in the future we aim to hold in-person sessions as well. The website was built using HTML (backend code) and CSS (frontend design) using Visual Studio. We also used Java to create certain elements such as the slideshow on the website. The app was prototyped using Figma to provide a visual representation of how it would look.

Link to GitHub: Link to website:

Challenges we ran into

As first-time creators of a website using HTML & CSS, we ran into several challenges we had to troubleshoot. However, one specific challenge we ran into was having linked images side by side which caused a line to appear between them. In order to combat this and improve the user interface, we created columns for the resources so that the links were easily accessible and looked clean. Finally, with the effects of the pandemic, working remotely was a challenge as we were all working at different times on various aspects of the project. However, we remained resilient and were able to complete the project and include all aspects in our ambitious design.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

Apart from the idea of our organization, we are extremely proud of creating our very first website using HTML & CSS. We created the website by focusing on various aspects individually, allowing each one of us to learn how to create a website by using a programming language. We then combined our individual parts and our collaboration was shown as we were able to create a clean and coherent platform through the website, app, and pitch deck presentation.

What we learned

While researching about our mission as Bright Beginnings, we learnt about the struggles faced by refugees in a completely new environment as well as their past trauma, not solely Afghanistan refugees but also refugees from other countries. From a technical perspective, we learnt how to create a website using HTML & CSS. As beginners, we had the opportunity to explore new aspects of coding while also watching several videos and taking online lessons to create the best possible output.

What's next for Bright Beginnings

In the future, Bright Beginnings aims to expand its target audience to other minority groups such as the homeless and disabled community. In addition, we would also like to extend our resources to incoming immigrants as their struggles align with those of refugees as they too are expected to adapt to a completely new environment in a different country. We would also like to expand our partner and sponsor network so that the users of our platform can benefit extensively through a range of resources. After all, Bright Beginnings is dedicated to fostering bright beginnings for minority groups.

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