When we came to the United States for the first time to do our Master's, South Texas was hit by Harvey. Everyone was panicked. People were notified to evacuate and hence we were finding safe places. Few moved to Houston and later realized that Harvey was strengthening quickly and moving rapidly towards the north coastal region of Texas. Typically in case of emergency situations like these, people post updates, helpline numbers, safe havens on social platforms like Facebook and Twitter. Hence, we decided to build a central platform dedicated to provide assistance in such situations.

What it does:

Once a user is registered with basic contact information, all natural calamities taking place nearby will be displayed on Home screen. The user can click on any calamity to offer or seek help. The seeker will be able to view the list of helpers in her neighborhood and can further contact them if she needs help. On the other hand, the provider can specify what kind of help she can offer which may include serving the people with food or providing shelter. Thus it serves a central platform for those in need of help and those willing to offer some.

How I built it:

Yesterday after the opening ceremony we visited all the booths of various companies to know about the challenges they want us to solve. One of the topics of JP Morgan Chase was to hack on any social good topic. After a long discussion, we settled up with 'Helping Hands'. We divided our tasks on the basis of the skills each member was expert in. Himanshu and I started with developing web services and API. Heramb was working on UI/UX using ‘Figma’ as a prototyping tool and adobe illustrator to create the icon and layout for the app. Sourabh ultimately integrated designs and APIs into the Android studio to build the final .apk file(the app).

Challenges I ran into

Synchronization of the team at first. Setting up the server was a major challenge. Creating a perfect UI layout for the app following the UI Principles. The collaboration of web services according to the UI layout was one of the many challenges we faced in these two days.

Accomplishments that I'm proud of:

We as a team, strongly believe in giving back to society. Developing the app that can help people really make us feel proud of ourselves.

What I learned:

Teamwork plays an important role in developing something from nothing. Also, I learned to use new technologies which were unexplored before. With proper planning, anything can be achieved within a given deadline.

What's next for Helping Hands:

We are planning to add a new feature which will help the people to buy houses after the calamity and by stating the condition of the neighborhood the people would find it very easy to get their dream houses and also trying to include insurance claims for them.

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