Khalid Alawar (right) chats after his hack team,Teslam, won the audience award at the NYUAD Hackathon for social good in the Arab World in Abu Dhabi.  Delores Johnson /  The National / April 16, 2017
Khalid Alawar (right) chats after his hack team,Teslam, won the audience award at the NYUAD Hackathon for social good in the Arab World in Abu Dhabi. Delores Johnson / The National / April 16, 2017

App for Syrian refugee job-seekers among winners at Abu Dhabi hackathon

ABU DHABI // An app that helps Syrian refugees find jobs in Turkey and a device that limits water consumption were named winners at the New York University Abu Dhabi Hackathon.

Eighty students from universities across the globe participated in the seventh edition of the event.

Ten teams were given 72 hours to produce technology that promotes a social good.

With the Hiat application, recruiters and businesses in Turkey can search for jobseekers with experience of trades such as plumbing, tailoring or other professions. They are connected to a registered Syrian refugee who can do that job.

The service also translates the job offer into Arabic.

The mechanism is intended to support well-educated workers who have lost their jobs and homes as a result of the conflict in their country.

“If I am a Turkish citizen and want someone to come to my house and fix the TV, I log on to Hiat, I submit a form and it goes to the user database,” said Camilo Luciano, from the Universidad de Buenos Aires in Argentina.

He demonstrated how the app worked with team member Amr Al Jundi, a Syrian student at the American University of Sharjah.

Mr Al Jundi received a message from Hiat informing him of the job offer, “so I expect a message telling in Arabic the job description”, he said.

“As soon as he accepts the job, I receive a message, and he comes and fixes it, and at that moment my credit card is charged,” Mr Luciano said.

For the refugee to get paid for the job, he scans the bar code of any service or product he wishes to buy and sends it to Hiat. The application then pays the bill.

“They are paid through wallet systems, because refugees don’t have bank accounts,” he said.

Hiat won first place.

An automated nursing application, 3ndi Headache (I Have A Headache) won second place for reducing the response time for triage nursing.

Team members tried calling a triage service at a local clinic and the process took 17 minutes.

“So we made a robot automated system – Dr Fatima – that would ask the caller for the symptoms,” said Hayat Al Hassan, a student at NYUAD.

“Through neurolinguistic programming and voice recognition, we built a simple decision-making system that would analyse the symptoms and diagnose,” she said.

It also works simultaneously between Arabic and English and therefore accepts code switching, as indicated by the app’s name.

“The difference is that you get to describe it [the problem] the way you want to...” she said.

An Nahr, an interactive hardware/software solution, limits the amount of water used per ablution at mosques.

“Twenty to 30 litres of water are used per day for ablution for the five prayers,” said Seyed Mohammad, a student at NYUAD.

But the team found that the amount of water needed is much less if the person does not keep the water running during the process.

“When the water flows, our chip – placed on the tap – gets the fluoride from the sensor, calculates the water coming out of the tap.” A red light appears when the water exceeds the amount.

They shared the third place prize with the Tarakeeb app, which helps children to master Arabic.

The audience award went to Teslam for the team’s goal of developing a chat bot that will share information with governments and educate the public on non-communicable diseases.

Sana Odeh, a professor of computer science and founder of the NYUAD Hackathon, said over the years they had witnessed outstanding results.

“A hackathon is usually a practice for students. Usually 1 per cent succeed, but here 100 per cent have succeeded.”


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1. Bhiwadi, India
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3. Hotan, China
4. Delhi, India
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Source: IQAir

Ireland (15-1):

Ireland (15-1): Rob Kearney; Keith Earls, Chris Farrell, Bundee Aki, Jacob Stockdale; Jonathan Sexton, Conor Murray; Jack Conan, Sean O'Brien, Peter O'Mahony; James Ryan, Quinn Roux; Tadhg Furlong, Rory Best (capt), Cian Healy

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Started: June 2022
Founder: Mohammed Alnamara
Based: Dubai
Sector: Microfinance
Current number of staff: 16
Investment stage: Series A
Investors: Family offices

What drives subscription retailing?

Once the domain of newspaper home deliveries, subscription model retailing has combined with e-commerce to permeate myriad products and services.

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The global subscription e-commerce market was valued at $13.2 billion (Dh48.5bn) in 2018. It is forecast to touch $478.2bn in 2025, and include the entertainment, fitness, food, cosmetics, baby care and fashion sectors.

The report says subscription-based services currently constitute “a small trend within e-commerce”. The US hosts almost 70 per cent of recurring plan firms, including leaders Dollar Shave Club, Hello Fresh and Netflix. Walmart and Sephora are among longer established retailers entering the space.

UnivDatos cites younger and affluent urbanites as prime subscription targets, with women currently the largest share of end-users.

That’s expected to remain unchanged until 2025, when women will represent a $246.6bn market share, owing to increasing numbers of start-ups targeting women.

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Started:+January 2021 

Founders:+Sanad Yaghi, Ali Al Sayegh and Shadi Joulani 


Number of employees:+140 

Sector:+B2B Vertical SaaS(software as a service) 

Investment:+$5.2 million 

Funding stage:+Seed round 

Investors:+Global Founders Capital, Colle Capital Partners, Wamda Capital, Plug and Play, Comma Capital, Nowais Capital, Annex Investments and AMK Investment Office  

Thor: Ragnarok

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Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Cate Blanchett, Jeff Goldblum, Mark Ruffalo, Tessa Thompson

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Co-founders: Arto Bendiken and Talal Thabet
Based: Dubai, UAE
Industry: AI
Number of employees: 41
Funding: About $1.7 million
Investors: Self, family and friends


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Round 4: Beat Anastasia Potapova 6-0, 6-0
Quarter-final: Beat Marketa Vondrousova 6-0, 6-2
Semi-final: Beat Coco Gauff 6-2, 6-4
Final: Beat Jasmine Paolini 6-2, 6-2

The five pillars of Islam

1. Fasting

2. Prayer

3. Hajj

4. Shahada

5. Zakat