We Indians have faced the harsh reality of lockdown on multiple occasions, once in 2020 and now again in 2021. During the lockdown, it is very difficult to get essential commodities such as ration because the shops are closed and moreover there is a shortage of items due to hoarding. We observed during the previous lockdown that each household has an excess of some or more ration commodities, which it can share with others in need in exchange for something else. This inspired us to make an application for collecting resources within the neighborhood. As often neighbors are the first point of help for anyone, they could similarly help here also.
What it does
This application could households in neighborhoods to make a repository of their available ration resources to be shared with each other during the lockdown. Households having any excess resources could broadcast the same via the app and anyone in the neighborhood could directly contact them for pickup of the same. This application serves the dual purpose of making available essential commodities to various households while simultaneously reducing the number of trips any household needs to make to the market forgetting anything.
How we built it
We use Flutter & Dart for the development of our App. We used Firebase Database for storing App's data. After 2-3 iterations and doing user testing on my neighbors and parents, I was able to finalize the application.
Challenges we ran into
Connecting Database was one of the most difficult tasks I faced in the development of this App. After the database was connected to the application other tasks were relatively easy
Accomplishments that we're proud of
I did user testing within my neighborhood and through the application, I was able to supply two households in need within a day. I was able to facilitate the transfer of 2kgs of wheat and 1 packet of bread through the application to our neighbors. My goal is that even if the application is able to reduce the number of trips per household per week by 1, it would be a huge success for me. As it is imperative for us to remain socially distant and reduce the number of trips outside the house, this application would help in that cause.
What we learned
Apart from the technical learnings of the dart, flutter, and firebase database, we learned that people in the neighborhood are ready to help each other. If we are able to pool their resources and incentivize them to help the neighborhood would run smoothly without much outside help.
What's next for Helping Hands
We want to enable access to people with no smartphones also so that they can also be a part of the resource pool. Apart from this we can add the government authorities and municipal corporations to the application to monitor the situation in every neighborhood and maintain the smooth running of the application.