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Students of the HSE Bachelor's programme in Business Informatics have developed an eye-catching, user-friendly website for the ‘Soulful Bazar’ project, a large-scale charity fair traditionally held in Moscow on the eve of the New Year. This year, the “Charity Tree” New Year celebration will be held on December 22 at the Expocentre off the Krasnopresnenskaya embankment.
It all started when second-year student Ekaterina Drobyshevskaya and third-year student Anastasia Menyaeva took part in the all-Russian summer school ‘The Digital Transformation of the Charity Sector’, which was held in early July 2019 at HSE MIEM. The school focused on developing IT solutions to help non-profit organizations (NGOs) work more effectively. The school’s programme included not only intensive workshops, but also discussions with potential customers and developers of digital services.
‘I am a committed computer enthusiast, and I am fascinated by the opportunity to work miracles using technology,’ says Ekaterina Drobyshevskaya. ‘Listening to Inga Moiseeva, the head of Soulful Bazar, I realized that this project is a real miracle. And it takes just a little magic for the miracle to happen.’
Ekaterina is the leader of the team developing the new, official website of ‘Soulful Bazar’; the team includes two more students - Anastasia Menyaeva from HSE and Anastasia Kamaeva from Ogarev Mordovia State University. When she started the project, Ekaterina had very little experience in front-end development, and she had only just completed her first year of studies. However, she is convinced that nothing encourages you to use your imagination and stay committed more than strict deadlines and your own enthusiasm.
The student team has been engaged in expanding the functionality of the ‘Soulful Bazar’ website and changing the design of its main pages. ‘We managed to find a time-consuming, but low-cost solution by using free plugins,’ explains Ekaterina. ‘Most of our time was spent on finding and learning how to use suitable tools that have nothing to do with our university curriculum.’
What’s most important is that the site has become more user-friendly. According to Inga Moiseeva, the long text on the landing page has been eliminated, and now a potential donor does not need to study brief descriptions of all NGO partners to find information about what’s being collected. He or she simply selects the desired recipient on the interactive picture along with a specific donation category and the site automatically redirects the donor to the appropriate list of items.
‘I can’t express how grateful I am to the site developers,’ says Inga Moiseeva. ‘I want to thank them for the result, for the process, for the experience, for the opportunities - for everything! I believe that our patrons and NGO partners, for which this project was initially done, will also appreciate this work.’
On December 22, from 11 am to 7 pm, you can bring clothing, food and other gifts to the ‘Soulful Bazar’ located in Pavilion 2 of the Expocentre on the Krasnopresnenskaya embankment. All day long, volunteers will accept and sort these items before sending boxes full of gifts to the various charities. Last year, 1 million roubles worth of gifts were collected under the Charity tree. Let’s hope that this year, thanks to a much-improved website, even more donations will be collected.