Inspiration

To take a child away from their asylum-seeking parent, without letting them say goodbye to each other, is to torture the most vulnerable. I have a 4 year old son and I'm the child of immigrants. There is no difference between my family and the families being separated at the border. I can't imagine the pain these parents and children must be feeling. I want to help reduce their trauma and suffering.

What it does

Captures the most critical data by SMS text from immigration lawyers in the field and relatives who are not in ICE custody, allowing them to eliminate bottlenecks in getting the information to Vera Institute so they can find potential matches with children.

How we built it

We're taking the Dropbox approach: using a video demo to exhibit the power of the intended solution. Rather than reinventing the wheel, we've reached out to a company that specializes in building chatbots. We used the hackathon to conduct more interviews, check our assumptions, and build the right partnerships. Our goal is to utilize the materials we've developed during the course of the IHM Hackathon to bring different partners to the table and bring them all up to speed on how we think the experience should be structured and why we think it should be that way.

Challenges we ran into

Privacy concerns, limitations of chatbot technology, the steep learning curve to understand the challenges that parents and their advocates are encountering when trying to reunify families.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

New America Foundation has asked to partner with us. IV.ai has agreed to build the bot prototype.

What we learned

There is an army of good people in this world. And they are trying to move heaven and earth to reunite these families. People are good.

What's next for hopebot

Complete building an MVP of the chatbot with IV.ai, New America Foundation, and Vera Institute of Justice. Use the MVP to persuade some larger companies and NGOs to partner with us, supply additional development resources, and lend us their tech. Ultimately, we'd like to turn our tech over to a consortium of foundations and .orgs.

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