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KindHack: coding for charity

Lviv programmers bring practical improvements to the social life in the city.

Supporting the growth and development is a crucial point in moving forward. Great results require professional guidance. Once again our company decided to host an event for the good of the community and the educational boost of a young generation of programmers.

On March 31st – April 1st IT specialists gathered for the third annual hackathon KindHack in Lviv by Symphony Solutions. This event brought programmers, designers, and testers together to invest their professional skills into creating digital projects for state and charity organizations.

The idea of this initiative is to work intensively for 2 days on social projects aimed at improving the life of the community. Pursuing the goodwill and great ideas, the participants combined their efforts in a very dynamic collaboration.

Oleh Vykhopen, mentor:

I believe all the stages of work went well. The developers were quite experienced, so it was easy to split the tasks and manage the course of work.

Because the time frame was quite pressing, the participants were provided with all the conditions to make their work at most productive and comfortable. Since the hackathon lasted throughout the night, participants were provided with full meals, snacks, and place to sleep too. To make some fun breaks one of the participants brought his ukulele and a little music to the process.

Oleksandr Vilchynskyy, mentor:

The participants faced the challenge, related to architecture and design. Many had skills in different technologies, so it was hard to pick the final architecture. As for the project on Sheptytsky hospital site, we managed to do a slight re-design, dwell on the use of WordPress and the right way of forming news, update the current version of WordPress and turn off the unnecessary plugins. One of the developers will help to bring those changes into production and will hold a training on the use of WordPress.

At the end of the second day, there were presentations of the results, challenges, and solutions as well as choosing the winner. The teams were to name the best team themselves and this year the project on interactive Cycle Maps became the winner.

We were honored to host a very special guest, Andriy Moskalenko, the Deputy Mayor of Lviv who supports many similar IT initiatives and was impressed at the enthusiasm and willingness of our IT crowd.

People were split into teams so that more projects would be covered.  Any state organization could submit their project for consideration. This year out of 33 we picked the following 6 projects:

1.  Vpershe – is an online source of information on sexual education for teenagers. It aims at raising the quality knowledge of such aspects as the onset of puberty, emotional and physical changes related to it, types of contraception, sexually transmitted diseases (STD) etc. It is sort of a “safe island“ for minors to get legitimate information and answers to the questions they might be hesitating to ask. This service so far has no equivalents in Ukraine.

2.  Hour of Code for Maker Space state organization – an iOS and Android applications for holding an Hour of Code in Lviv. The event is an hour-long introduction to information technology for pupils. Every year about 100 schools and 300 mentors take part in it in Lviv. An online application would significantly simplify the process of registration and organization. This project has a great educational value and takes place around the world, so it was crucial to make it easier to maintain.

3.  2 Generation for Generation Y (ihryk) – a platform for young an elderly people which serves as a search engine for apartments. Thanks to this tool, students looking to rent can easily find an apartment and move in with the owner. The idea is to provide mutual help, support, and communication between people of different ages.

4.  Andrey Sheptytsky hospital – modernizing of design and structure for the current site of the hospital. The establishment of a prominent figure in local history has to have accessible and easy online version.

5.  CO2 calculator  for Umka organization – a calculator to measure the amount of carbon dioxide that the user of the application causes by their activity. With this app, one can find out specifically how much of CO2 appears in the air in the course of individual daily habits and maybe try to alter those.

6.  The winning project – Lviv Cycle Map  from Zruchne Misto organization – an online map of cycling lanes in the city for desktop and mobile phones, available on Android and iOS. The map displays cycling lanes, bike repair services, shops, bike and skate parks, as well as bike parking lots (stating the type and the number of stands), cycle routes and the places of public bike rental Nextbike. It also shows where you can do some minor repairs on your own and get a water refill.

Mykola Pustovoychenko, participant of the winning team:

As a result of our work at hackathon, we created rather prototypes, than fully ready-to-use products. However, many interesting MVP can already be of great use. Our project was aimed at creating an easy to use web page and mobile apps for cycle maps. We hope that the cycling community of Lviv will take up the development of the project. Our biggest challenge was to set priorities as there were much more ideas than time.

Yuriy Ter-Arutiunian, participant:

Two days of excitement, hard work, interesting communication and new experience in a team of professionals. The task was to create Android & iOS mobile applications, as well as desktop version for Lviv Bike Map. The result was great and the project actually became a winner. I liked it a lot and appreciate the great work! Thanks to all of you! You were awesome! Hope the project will be completed soon so we can share it with people!

Roman Khrupa, participant:

I am very happy to have taken part in KindHack 2018. Coming on Saturday after a long week and early in the morning was quite a task, but it was totally worth it, as I had a great team and the coolest project the “Hour of Code”. Hackathon had many projects to offer, but this one I liked the best as I had heard about it before and wanted to take part.

We were 10 people in the team, we got acquainted and started to work really fast. The organizers did a wonderful job, they were always there and ready to help. We had pizza, fruit, cookies and lots of coffee. At times when we wanted to have some rest, we could chill on the swing, charge the phone with the help of a bike, play VR-games and some other cool stuff. I would also like to thank our mentors, especially Oleh Duhin, who stayed with us throughout the night and assisted with whatever he could. Even though our team didn`t win, I met so many cool people and had had a fun time. I started working on the project that will be very helpful when holding the Hour of Code.

I am truly thankful to everyone involved in organizing the Hackathon. This Kindhack was probably the best one with its atmosphere and team.

Nick Khomyak, participant:

It was just awesome. A rush, fun, challenge and tons of Red Bull  exactly the way it’s supposed to be. Thanks to the team and Symphony Solutions for the cool weekend at KindHack 2018.”

We appreciate the help and contribution of everyone that participated in this initiative. As it is a non-commercial event, we counted on people’s goodwill and enthusiasm. It is of great value to receive such a response to charity from developers and mentors and our partners: Vyshyvanka-catering, pizza.lviv, ShoCo, Red Bull, Neo Service, Planeta Kino and the Discovery Map; as well as the sponsors who helped with printing the T-shirts and presents.

Hackathon has already become a nice tradition for us and we do not plan to stop. There is always room for improvement, so next year we will try to make it bigger and to do more for a better life. Seeing the positive impact of work and the impressive involvement of people and resources we have witnessed we are motivated to expand the geography of KindHack. Since Symphony Solutions has its offices also in Macedonia and Poland we will get together and build the network of kindness.