Hackathon 17

During the end of the Spring semester in 2023, I took part in the Hackathon 17 programme. The purpose of Hackathon 17 is to work in multi-level, interdisciplinary teams to create entrepreneurial solutions to real-world problems relating to one of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

I was placed in a team that was given the challenge of making festival spaces comfortable. After a session of brainstorming we had an idea!

Over a two week period, we decided to design an app with the aim of tackling the problem of inequality and promoting good health and wellbeing, specifically for people with autism who would like to attend concerts and festivals. The app aimed to refine and revolutionise the festival experience by creating an inclusive space for everyone to connect, enjoy and create unforgettable memories!

Image created to showcase the app.

Our app and idea also won the star prize, a chance to participate in a transformational Social Leaders Programme with ProjectCHAKRA!

The Social Leaders Programme was a jam packed 10 day trip to India. Here is some of what we did:

We lived and worked within the Ahmedabad communities benefitting from Manav Sadhna social enterprises and took part in facilitated group and individual reflections. During the 10 days we also visited the Ahmedabad University where we met some local students and took part in a workshop that simulated the lives of ‘rag pickers’, recyclers and businesses.

Rag pickers are the ladies that go around the city to pick up trash and recyclables which they can then sell to the recyclers for cash. We also had the chance to be rag pickers and joined some of the ladies on their daily route. This morning started at 4am and we helped them collect trash. It was a real eyeopener when we talked to the rag picker who told us she was the breadwinner of the household as her husband just stays at home and drinks. This job is often seen as humiliating but they are usually the ones keeping neighbourhoods clean and making an honest living from it.

We also did a scavenger hunt around the city and surrounding areas. No one on my team spoke Gujarati or Hindi so Google Translate was our best friend during the hunt. It was my first time riding in a ‘rickshaw’ and it was such a fun experience being able to travel like a local. We visited some historical places as well as the local market.

Although I knew no one on the team before meeting them at the Hackathon we all developed a really close bond. An inside joke that developed on the trip happened when we met some local children who told us that they say “kitchari” instead of “smile” when taking a pictures but for some reason I thought they said “Chitra”. After talking about it for some time, we saw the billboards (pictured above) when walking around and my brain must’ve swapped the two words around. Ironically, ‘chitra’ means picture in Hindi.

It was such an invaluable experience and I am happy I got a chance to take part. See you in the next blog 🙂