An approximate 11 million people have fled Syria due to the civil war turning their homes into warzones. Without proper grasp of the spoken language in a host country, jobs, education, and community are out of reach for the refugees.

Drop Earrings Not Bombs (DENB) is a project that raises funds for and empowers Syrian refugees living in Istanbul, Turkey, by providing language, recreational and skill based workshops for refugees of all ages.

The problem

Before our hackathon project, the entire process of sales for DENB was manual: interested customers would email DENB, and a chain of back-and-forth emails would follow until a custom order was created, paid for, and confirmed.

In October of 2016, Facebook page AJ+ posted a video about DENB, which garnered over 800,000 views ( Thanks to this sudden publicity, DENB has been inundated with orders, and is finding their current system incompatible in dealing with such a high volume of requests.

A DENB representative approached us and asked if we could help come up with a solution for this problem.

The solution: our hackathon project!

We have created a streamlined website, with an ecommerce component and a dynamic, interactive custom earring creator.

Now, instead of the slow process of emailing with a representative to create custom earring orders, customers can simply use our site to either purchase pre-made earrings, or use our earring builder to create and purchase unique earrings.

How we built it

Laravel, Vue.js, Bootstrap v4, css, html, Flexbox, SVG, Javascript, GIMP, video.js, toastr.js, GitBooks. Full open source stack down to our development operating systems.

Challenges we ran into

Ray: Vue.js.

Samah: Being tired and cranky.

Zac: Since this is an infrastructure that is meant to be used in the real world, and preferably immediately, setting up a complete ecommerce site from the server, to database, to application in 36 hours was a challenge.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

Ray: I learned Bootstrap! Using my knowledge of ecommerce to make a real world charitable impact.

Samah: The custom earring creator! Building the svg layers to make the dynamic earring creator work was fun, and I am proud of how it looks. Also, knowing that this will assist in an integral component of refugee integration and maximize their job and education potential.

Zac: The SVG design work, and having this be the first hackathon project that has a real world impact.

We are all proud to have contributed to a project that has real and immediate impact on people's lives.

What we learned

Ray: Bootstrap!

Samah: Open source softwares abilities to generate svgs (yay Gimp).

Zac: Video backgrounds with html and css.

What's next for Drop Earrings Not Bombs

  • Actual checkout
  • More styles of earrings in the custom earring builder

If you would like to contribute to the project, please visit our contribution guide at

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