The pandemic disrupted lives as it created unforeseen complexities for the world to resolve. The education sector faced multiple challenges as the onset of lockdowns led to a rise in dropouts, loss of learning and an increase in the digital divide in both public and private schools. While digitization was clearly the path forward, access to technology and its uptake was a challenge and more so for the non-profits.
Standing true to its commitment of leveraging technology to create value for the society and empower lives and livelihoods, PayPal initiated a Tech for Good hackathon as a platform to bridge this gap. The hackathon provided an opportunity to connect our engineers with non-profits to solve some of their most pressing technology roadblocks.
AVTAR Human Capital Trust (AHCT) was one such not-for-profit public charitable organization which was reeling under the impact of the pandemic. Their efforts to coach and mentor underprivileged girls were brought to a halt. They were unable to continue with their offline classes for thousands of beneficiaries. The absence of an open-source platform customized to their unique needs of an NGO hampered their ability to continue the learning process.
Upon identifying the issue, a team of eight PayPal engineers devised a simple and intuitive e-learning application for AHCT offering its beneficiaries access to its content which was curated in the form of courses. These courses were available with assessments which could be used as a determining input for improvements and feedback by the mentors and coaches.
This solution was created as a reusable component which can be scaled across NGO’s. A unified administrator panel was designed to manage accounts, accesses, and restrictions to ensure organizations have an overview of the user base. This panel also housed modules to create courses, monitor assessments and make announcements.
For the PayPal team, this was the first product they built from scratch and that by itself was a challenge owing to the amount of research involved in it. The objective was to offer a solution that not only gracefully catered to the needs of AHCT but was also cost-effective and future proofed to meet the needs of the fast changing technologies.
The team needed to balance their time between their day job and this initiative. It was their sheer passion for technology coupled with the satisfaction of creating an impact for the underserved which motivated them.
Meet the PayPal team
L-R (Top): Ajith Bharathwaj, Product Owner, Alpana Negi, Product Owner, Harshal Sharma, Software engineer - craftsman, Karthik Madhalam, UI-UX Designer
L-R (Bottom): Praveen Kumar, Developer, Preeti Katasani, Developer, Subisha Ramesh, Android, Varun Iyer, Backend Developer