Inspiration

The vulnerable population was suggested to self-isolate during the pandemic, and they may feel lonely as they are isolated from their family and friends. Some may overcome this issue by phone/ video calls and text messages with their loved ones on a regular basis. However, not every one of them have access to the internet or electronic devices.

I would like to tackle the digital divide by connecting the vulnerable population to the wider community.

How it works

  1. Volunteers sign up with their contact details using the app

  2. A phone number, which the vulnerable population can call or text to register for TextFriend, will be distributed via partnering with community centres or supermarkets delivering groceries.

  3. The isolated population can text the number and input preferences for pairing up with volunteers

  4. All information collected will be uploaded to database and stored securely

  5. Matching between the vulnerable and volunteers based on preferences, languages, age group and etc

  6. Paired up individuals can connect via SMS

How I built it

Back-end development using Node and Express

Twilio for making phone calls and texting

Challenges I ran into

As a beginner in coding, I don't have much experience with javascript and have never used Twilio before. I spent a lot of time watching tutorial videos, going through documentations and debugging.

Accomplishments that I'm proud of

I built a working prototype with Twilio.

What I learned

I learnt a lot about javascript and Twilio for app development.

What's next for TextFriend

New Features

Mask phone numbers

  • Users can connect with each other without giving out their phone numbers

Pairing algorithm

  • Pairing with be done according to users' interests, languages, and preferences
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