The facts surrounding tell a bleak story:

  • 87% Syrian Refugees have smartphones [1].
  • 50M Child refugees in mobile populations [2].
  • 124M Children not in school, with girls being 90% more likely to not receive crucial secondary education [3].

Young girls who are not in school are perhaps the most vulnerable demographic, and yet a staggering 1 in 4 school age children do not have stable schooling due to their constantly being on the move. What if we could help alleviate some of the most pressing impediments to education - including lack of immediate positive reinforcement, community engagement, and language barriers - through a mobile (and SMS-adaptable) app?

What it does

  • Who: primary age Syrian girls who are on the move, without a stable school to attend.
  • What: An AR app where girls can satisfy their curiosity regarding their new surroundings while learning a new language and forging strong friendships.
  • Why: Displaced girls are at much higher risk of giving up schooling, especially due to language barriers.

How it works:

Here's how a refugee girl would utilizer PictHerEsque:

  • As a girl travels to new locations, view your changing surroundings through your phone’s camera. This could be a foreign object (a skateboard) or something in nature (a constellation), anything
  • Our computer vision and NLP based backend will surface knowledge surrounding the identified object in both your native language and the foreign language used in your present location. Beyond the term itself, you'll receive a definition, spelling, pronunciation, an example sentence of the term's usage in the new language and a fun gif!
  • To encourage community building you can challenge your friends to learn new terms, and track your progress. As girls collect more vocabulary terms, they will earn badges that are named after famous quotes by leading women, such as "In the future there will be no female leaders, just leaders" by Sheryl Sandberg.

How we built it

The technologies we used include: Clarifai, Python, Swift, Flask. Our backend consists of NLP and CV, while the front end is a gamified, brightly colored mobile app.

Challenges we ran into

  • Optimizing our backend so that all of the translation and image recognition could be processed as quickly as possible.
  • Learning how to use and integrate multiple APIs.
  • Next, we want to integrate with Facebook platforms to provide a more seamless login and friendsharing experience!

Accomplishments that we're proud of

  • We're proud of building a game that not only encourages improvement through a feel-good user experience but also provides the most frictionless and addictive way to learn a new language.
  • We're proud that this hackathon brought us together for the first time to build a meaningful project!

What makes PictHerEsque unique?

  • Overcome language barriers through contextual-based approach to literacy
  • Prompt girls’ curiosity towards surroundings through a fun and easy AR format
  • Frictionless, positive feedback based user experience
  • Community driven, visually engaging game prompts friendship and support networks to form

What's next for PictHerEsque

We envision a future where we will be able to help every child reach their educational potential and develop strong literacy skills that will equip them with a voice - a voice that will not protect the status quo, a voice that will hold the world accountable to redouble on efforts to use technology to challenge the refugee crisis.

[1] The Guardian [2] UNICEF [3] Global Citizen

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