A time for giving

Use your developer powers for good this Christmas

Lucy Carey
HERO

We take a look some of the ways techies and not-for-profits are combining their expertise to make a difference – and how you can get involved.

As Stan Lee, (paraphrasing Voltaire), famously wrote,
“With great power comes great responsibility”. Whilst the average
developer may consider themselves more of a Peter Parker than his
super heroic alter ego, your tech expertise really could make a
real difference this Christmas.

From helping to shelter the homeless, to supporting
data sharing, there are a myriad of ways to convert holiday
downtime into a few hours of work that could change tangibly
someone’s life for the better. Here are just a few ways to get
involved:  

The Aimar Foundation for
Crisis at Christmas

The
Aimar Foundation
, which guides small to medium sized char­ities
in achieving their goals through effi­cient imple­ment­a­tion,
applic­a­tion and util­iz­a­tion of technology, have joined forces
with the homeless charity Crisis to provide the IT infrastructure
for the Crisis at Christmas
homeless initiative
.  

By opening ten Centres around London, Crisis offers
home­less people food, shelter, and warmth  over the Christmas
week, as well as additional support ser­vices, ranging from
learning oppor­tun­ities to housing and job advice.

All of this takes a considerable degree of tech support,
and, flanked by the efforts of over 100 volunteers, since 2008, the
Aimar Foundation has assisted by providing hardware, internet
capabilities, and resources to support Crisis staff. This year,
thousands of people in London are facing a Christmas on the streets
– and the Foundation is once again revving up to help.

For those with time to spare over the holidays, there
are plenty of opportunities to assist with deployment, support, and
deco activities. If this sounds like a more rewarding use of your
holiday than wading through endless repeats and boxes of sickly
chocolate, click
here
.

Apps for Good

No education system can offer a one size fits all
approach. For every straight A student, there are plenty of
talented pupils who struggle with traditional learning methods.
Apps for Good aims to democratize the educational playing field by
offering creative learning programs where students use new
technologies to design and make products that can make a difference
to their world. Their mission is to equip students to research,
design and make commercial digital products, imbuing young people
with self-confidence,  collaborative skills, and a social
conscience. As the organisation puts it, “Most children are
consumers of technology; we want them to become makers using
technology.”

This year, Apps for Good are helping steer novice
programmers in the development of apps to assist dyslexics, help
speech, hearing, and visually-impaired people, and alleviate the
isolation of young carers. There are several ways you can get
involved in the work of Apps for Good, including adopting a school,
or becoming an expert mentor. Click on to learn more. 

DataKind: “Using data in the
service of humanity

DataKind provides a forum to connect leading data
scientists with high impact social organizations through a
rigorous, collaborative approach which they believe leads to shared
insights, greater understanding, and, ultimately, “positive action
through data”.

Their past projects include scraping websites to
collect consumption and price data to assess if more accurate and
helpful real time food pricing and consumption data could be found
to better understand the 2009 food crisis
in Kenya
, and analysing how the streams of money flooding into
Washington influence
the behaviour of Congress
.

DataKind offers a registration service for
mission-driven organizations and willing data crunchers alike, who
will then be contacted when programs that match their skills or
needs launch.

Image by Marthax

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