Meet team Angela, winners of the Code4Impact prize at AngelHack Rio De Janeiro! This team of five women created a hugely impressive project within one weekend, that has huge potential to go on and make a real impact. They are now eligible to win the Code4Impact prize, a spot in the HACKcelerator.
Was this the original idea, or did you guys pivot at some point during the hackathon?
To tell the story of the original idea, we need to go back to the beginning of 2016. All team members who created Angela belong to a collaborative nonprofit project called Projeto Tutoras , which’s goal is to empower women through programming.
Our team has a group on Telegram, where we talk about the project, define actions etc. A few weeks before we knew about the hackathon, Erika “threw” the idea into the group and everybody thought the idea was interesting. Unfortunately, because of our daily duties, the idea continued being only an idea…
When we decided to join the hackathon, after we formed the team, we began to discuss some ideas the night / daybreak before the event, but we were not sure if the subject would be free, so we didn’t decide anything. Only after we were presented to the rules of the hackathon, at the beginning of the event, that we decided to develop this idea.
According to Erika, the inspiration for the idea came about because not only she, but many women experience risky situations simply because they are women. These situations range from verbal harassment to physical attacks that can result in severe injuries or even death. But Erika did not think the application should only be for women, but for all people who want to feel safe in some way when they go out. How many times do we go out with our friends and when leaving, we say "when you get home, let me know"? We do this because we know that the world is too violent and it is even worse for women: we have to deal with the violence of the world and the one that ended up suffering only because we are women.
Can you tell us how the team formed? Did you all know each other prior to the event?
The team is made up of five women from different areas, but all of them program in at least two languages. Erika Bueno studies Computing Systems at UFF; the other members are students at PUC-Rio: Maria Carolina Marinho and Michelle Valente study Computer Engineering, Meyrele Torres studies Design and Tamyres Freitas studies Advertising and Marketing.
The initial contact between Erika, Maria Carolina, Meyrele and Tamyres occurred in late 2014 and throughout 2015 through an internship program aimed to develop iOS applications. In early 2016, Projeto Tutoras was officially founded. Michelle, the fifth member of the Angela Team, was brought by Maria Carolina and also started to integrate Projeto Tutoras team.
Before we get back to the project, tell us about the actual hackathon. How was it? Tell us your favorite parts!
It was an amazing experience! The hackathon occurred at IBM's headquarters in Rio de Janeiro. The atmosphere was amazing and, through the windows, we had a beautiful view of the Sugar Loaf.
The organization was very welcoming, all people involved were always willing to help and contribute with ideas and feedback. Instead of the traditional pizza, we had a “Festa Junina” (a traditional Brazilian party that usually happens in June) to relax the mood, full of typical finger food and music to liven up. In addition to that, working with friends and meeting new people is always fun :)
In your mind, what one thing does every hackathon need to make it a successful event?
The most important thing in a hackathon is the environment where you stay. A comfortable lounge results in happy and well prepared participants willing to work and achieve as much as possible in the short time we have.
Ok back to your project. We’ve talked about the inspiration; can you tell us a little bit more about the technology? What APIs did you guys use?
When we decided to develop Angela, we immediately thought about creating a mobile application because many people have cell phones. We also chose to initially develop the iOS version because all team members know how to program in Swift. In order to store the user registration data and also to be able to deal with the actions that the application performs, we created a backend using PHP and MySQL. We do not use any external API, we created everything we needed to make a functional MVP, from the logo to the backend.
What are your future plans with the project?
We believe in Angela’s potential and we are already continuing the project! Our goal is to launch the application first version (iOS and Android) as soon as possible and also a dashboard on the web. Soon, we will launch the official project website with a blog so people can follow the development.