Daj Herbatę is the foundation that does not ask anybody about the cause of their misfortune. The main idea is to help unprivileged people satisfy their basic needs by providing them with warm tea and soup. Volunteers do it every Monday at 8 p.m. near Warsaw Central Station. The action has progressed and become much easier now thanks to a mobile application created by Tooploox.
New chapter of helping
The idea of giving bare necessities to those in need has developed in recent years. The classic methods like multiple charity events or online fundraising are still efficient and popular.
However, Tooploox has pushed it further through cooperation with Daj Herbatę. There are many benefits coming from this initiative – applied technology made the idea of help much more convenient and Daj Herbatę are able to give underprivileged people precisely what they need.
How did it all begin?
Daj Herbatę is the foundation established in Warsaw by Katarzyna Nicewicz. The main reason for starting the foundation was the experience of meeting many homeless people in the underground of Warsaw Central Station struggling during the cold days and their gratitude after receiving a cup of tea or some warm food. The Polish name Daj Herbatę can be interpreted as “give somebody a tea as a gift”. It describes the idea of the foundation in a simple and clear way.
Initially Daj Herbatę collected the needs from homeless people on Warsaw Central Station every Monday. People were writing about their needs on paper and later the requests were collected as files in binders. It was time-consuming and inconvenient to complete packages efficiently using manual storage.
Our paths crossed thanks to Patrycja from Daj Herbatę and our Plooxie – Maciej, who volunteers in the foundation. Developing a mobile application that helps people was Patrycja’s dream.
Maciej told us about this idea and we got fired up instantly. After a few meetings where we discussed the way the volunteers work, we started working together on the actual concept of the application.
We were regularly in touch with Patrycja as we presented subsequent stages of application development. Members of the foundation were able to test the app gradually among themselves and make remarks if necessary. Finally, we informed Patrycja the application is almost done and decided that the best time for soft launch and testing was Monday evening during the usual operation time for Daj Herbatę foundation.
The whole process of developing the app took us around 3 weeks. We divided the work and involved both front-end and back-end developers. The technology we used was Ruby on Rails, which made the whole process more efficient and fast-growing. Also, the web hosting service of our application is located on Heroku platform, so we were able to introduce it sooner.
At first glance, working on such an app comes across as nothing extraordinary, but to Plooxies it made a difference. Jacek, a back-end engineer who was engaged in the project, describes the experience as innovatory. Developers felt like they were doing something good and meaningful. The application has been developed for free, but it brings countless advantages to people.
How does the application work?
Currently, the foundation gathers information about the exact needs of homeless people and uses the app to manage it. The software helps in: signing up for a package, editing its content, delivering it in an easy way and following the history of needs of a particular person.
The first stage is enrollment. The foundation saves necessary information about the person in our application. Each person in need gets ID number and gives his or her personal data including full name, height, size, waist size, shoe size and additional notes.
After receiving the data, the foundation is able to find appropriate things from a given category. These are:
- Footwear (sport shoes, brogues, winter shoes, sandals and others)
- Clothes (jackets, T-shirts, sweaters, hoodies, sweatshirts, joggers, jeans, shorts and others)
- Underwear (briefs, boxer shorts, socks, bras, long underwear and others)
- Hygiene products (shampoos, shower gels, soap bars, toothpastes, toothbrushes, shaving creams, aftershaves, deodorants, towels, sanitary napkins, washing powders, shavers and others)
- Accessories (gloves, caps, scarves, belts and others)
- Equipment (blankets, sleeping pads, sleeping bags, backpacks, bags and more)
- “Space” (anything that doesn’t fall into any category, e.g. heaters)
The next stage is completing a person’s needs. The foundation saves the information in the app.
At this point, we can see the exact content of the package and its delivery status. The history includes all donations made during the last 2 months.
Software developed by Tooploox is aligned with the main objectives of Daj Herbatę foundation, which is helping as needed. We created the connection between mobile software development and charity. We also learned that our capabilities can influence not only the world of technology, but also our ordinary problems. Thanks to our cooperation, the process of helping people is more efficient. In other words, we donated our skills to Daj Herbatę foundation.