Next Step: Chiang Mai!
After we launched our pilot phase in January and advanced to Hult Prize Regionals in Shanghai, we carried out a series of market analysis and evaluation, as well as app development and debugging. During this period of time, we are very blessed to have received guidance from judges and mentors from all walks of life; one of the suggestions raised was that our app could best unleash its potential by expanding to less resourceful places like refugee camps and migrant communities. To test our hypothesis, we decided to go into migrant communities to learn about their plights and challenges. After thorough research and discussions, our target group is the refugee/IDP community at Myanmar-Thai border.
We communicated with two NGOs before our field trip, namely Shan Youth Power and Child’s Dream. We paid a visit to the Child’s Dream head office right after we landed in Chiang Mai, and was greeted by Gene, who brought us around the office, and introduced to us the initiatives and programs the organization is carrying out in Laos, Thailand and Myanmar. The work of Child’s Dream is highly impressive — it was established in 2003, and in 15 years, they collaborated with different NGOs, donors and governments, and established 500+ projects in the three countries mentioned above. The projects range from early life medical care and health empowerment, to higher education and vocational training. Gene was very helpful and gave us lots of insights on the social issues and migrants' conditions in Chiang Mai.
To better prepare for our field work at the refugee camp, we brainstormed a set of questions for the interviews, hoping to gain a better understanding of the refugees' background, lifestyle, challenges, and needs, in order to see how we could launch our platform in a migrants setting. We are adopting the “saturate and group” method and the “empathy map” to organize and synthesize new ideas after our field work (which will take place in the coming three days), so stay tuned for updates from us!