Despite given shelter and other material needs, 45% of homeless people and 10-40% of refugees globally are affected with mental health issues. A huge chunk of money from various charitable organizations, the United Nations, and government organizations have been channeled towards helping these unfortunate groups. For the homeless people who are estranged from their family and refugees who lost friends and family in wars, money alone does not solve their problems. Humans have an inherent need for a sense of belonging and community. We are social animals - most of us want to feel belonged to a particular group.
We have been giving money in the same way over the past century - we give purely in material terms : cash, clothes, and hot meals. Our team is revolutionizing the way we give by providing a platform where willing hosts could provide temporary shelter or dinners to those who are homeless or refugees. Through interactions over dinners in cozy home settings, hosts are able to connect on a deeper level to the refugees. This could help promote a greater understanding and empathy among the hosts and guests.
The biggest challenge we faced was fully defining the idea. We had a lot of trouble finalizing our idea and the features we wanted to add to it. The biggest technological challenges we faced revolved around integrating the python backend with the VueJS frontend and defining the database structure.
To build this app, we went through a few steps. First we came up with the basic layouts of the pages we wanted to create on paper. This step included defining what data the user would have to provide and the UI/ UX design. Then we chose to use Firebase as our No SQL database as it was easy to use, a Flask framework so we could use a python backend, and a VueJS front end. Finally, after each of the components were finished individually, we linked together the frontend and the backend using REST calls.
We are proud that we are taking a small step to solving a pressing problem in our current society. We are attempting to tackle SDG Goals No 1, 10, 2 and 11 - No Poverty, Reduced Inequality, Zero Hunger and Sustainable Cities and Community. Our next steps are to expand our platform and partnering with local NGOs / high net worth individuals.