“Our native soil draws all of us, by I know not what sweetness, and never allows us to forget.”

~Pūblius Ovidius Nāsō

In this era of rapid development and globalization, Singaporeans are looking abroad in pursuit of better living, work opportunities and study opportunities overseas. By moving abroad, Singaporeans will be able to experience a brand new country with fresh new outlooks, customs and activities, which are tantalizing prospects to anyone with the means to do so. As such, our country faces a rapidly growing population of Overseas Singaporeans, numbering at a staggering 340751 according to official statistics from the Singaporean government in 2019. While the internet has allowed us to keep in close contact with our loved ones even when abroad, sometimes a simple video call simply isn't enough to alleviate the pangs of homesickness experienced by those abroad, without reliable contact with their loved ones in Singapore.

Our idea was initially conceptualized when we first approached our friends with experience living overseas, asking them general questions regarding any problems they might have faced while living abroad. One interesting topic that came up recurrently was the rapidly surmounting costs of shipping for families who regularly sent "care packages" to their homesick relatives overseas, as well as reciprocal gifts which are sent back. Such "care packages" oft contain various local goodies meant to bring a taste of Singapore over, such as packets of ready-made condiments such as bak kut teh and curry spice powder, assorted non-perishable foodstuffs or local memorabilla and other more personal mementoes.

To alleviate this problem, we came up with the idea to create a social platform that would allow Singaporeans to organize bulk shipping of packages to their relatives overseas, in a system reminiscent of group buys. Our approach was inspired and encouraged by similar platforms with entirely different specializations, such as Massdrop (now renamed to Drop), which was set up initially as a group buy platform for keyboard peripherals and has since achieved breakout success in the field as a purchasing platform for enthusiast communities.

What it does

SendTogether is a social platform with the intention of lowering the expensive shipping costs associated with delivering packages to loved ones overseas through bulk shipping. We achieve this by streamlining the process of aggregating and consolidating shipments of packages sent to similar locations by Singaporeans to their loved ones overseas, minimizing peer to peer interaction and making the process as painless as possible.

How we built it

SendTogether is written in Javascript with the React framework:

  • Create React App for project setup and configuration
  • Figma for wireframing and UI design
  • Anima to convert each individually designed page into workable CSS code

Challenges we ran into

  • All of our members had little to no experience in working with front end frameworks, and picking up multiple languages to materializing a workable web application within a weekend was a monumental task for us
  • There was a wide range of frameworks and libraries available to us for front end development, and trying to narrow down on a single framework was a difficult due to our lack of experience in the matter
  • One of our members experienced a catastrophic failure of their desktop setup due to a failing power supply unit, and work was delayed

Accomplishments that we're proud of

  • We managed to come up with a solution that addresses a very real problem faced by Singaporeans overseas as well as locals who have relatives living overseas, justified by our own personal anecdotes, as well as feedback from our friends who have had experience living overseas or had relatives living overseas.
  • Creating our product in its current state with little to no experience in web development involved the learning of multiple new languages and frameworks within the span of a few days, is an achievement which we are very proud of :)

What we learned

  • React framework
  • Javascript, HTML and CSS syntax
  • Creating interactive wireframes with Figma
  • How to extract workable CSS code using Anima from Figma wireframes
  • Tying the entire project together with Create React App
  • How to troubleshoot a PC with a failing power supply unit

What's next for SendTogether

  • Working with courier services to establish low cost and efficient pipelines to areas of high concentration of Singaporean diaspora
  • Collaborating with the Singapore government to lower import tariffs and increase speed of clearance for packages associated with SendTogether

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