Daughters of UOC priest win a Technovation Challenge Ukraine competition
Girls prayed to St. John of Shanghai for their mobile application that coordinates supermarkets and volunteers to win and help those in need.
Varvara and Praskovya Ovcharenko, daughters of the cleric of the Sts Peter and Fevronia church in Zaporozhye, Archpriest Alexander Ovcharenko, as well as Elizaveta Erenburg and Olga Tabunshchik became the winners of the national stage of the International Competition for IT-entrepreneurship for girls of Technovation Challenge Ukraine. Now, together with the winners-finalists from around the world, the girls will compete for a grant at the world stage of the competition to be held in San Francisco. It was said by Father Alexander.
The project “Technovation Challenge Ukraine”, organized in 2017 with the support of the Western NIS Enterprise Fund and the GS “Reform Support Fund in Ukraine”, is intended to interest the Ukrainian teenagers aged 10-18 years old in the IT industry and teach them to solve socially significant problems using modern technology. The best projects receive prizes and the chance to go to California.
At the national stage of the competition, the PrOVE IT team overtook 20 teams of girls from all over Ukraine, presenting the “Meal for Will” mobile app. The task of the application is to liaise restaurants and supermarkets, which often simply discard food with an expiring (but not expired) shelf life, with volunteer organizations that can distribute these products to the homeless. As the winning team, the girls not only reached the world semi-final but they also won a trip to San Francisco, which was provided by the organizer of Technovation in Ukraine – Western NIS Enterprise Fund.
“My daughters, Varvara and Praskovya, together with friends, as part of a team, will defend their project – a mobile application,” Archpriest Alexander Ovcharenko shared his joy. “Experience, travel and new acquaintances are primary things for the youth. But everything should be done with blessing and with prayer. To put it in a nutshell, their application allows mobile volunteers to understand what restaurants and supermarkets have food with a close expiration date in order to come and deliver it to the needy. The main thing is to make soul-saving deeds and remain human everywhere. In general, it would be cool to finalize it. It is really necessary."
Varia Ovcharenko, a member of the winning team, said that she particularly prayed for victory to St. John of San Francisco and believed that the saint would help, because their idea was precisely to help the poor and destitute – those who live worse than we do.
She said that once the girls saw a huge amount of edible food thrown away by the supermarket. A thought that this food could be distributed to the poor was the one to prompt the creation of a mobile application.
“But the homeless will not be able to use our application, since they do not have phones, so they came up with another solution that volunteer organizations could use our application and look for supermarkets and restaurants that are ready to give food, while volunteer organizations would give this food homeless,” explained Varia. “Our application is a way to bring volunteer organizations together with supermarkets and restaurants; in our application restaurants and supermarkets will offer food being suitable for consumption for free.”
The girl stressed that using this mobile application can not only feed the homeless and better organize the work of volunteer organizations, but also help restaurants which have to spend money on food disposal.
“We prayed to the saints to be assisted in our business, to be helped to accomplish the work, to draw up a business plan correctly and not to forget anything, so that we would avoid squabbling in the team while our application was being developed,” Varia noted. “By the way, we already have a list of volunteer organizations that are willing to cooperate and are interested in our application.”