September 9, 2020 – With the Notre Dame University-Louaize (NDU) Bridging Hearts relief campaign fully under way, Nisrine El Turkey, Senior Lecturer at the Department of Electrical, Computer and Communication-Faculty of Engineering (FE), has rallied together students and fellow faculty to develop a website, www.ndubridginghearts.me, for the initiative in collaboration with Lebanese telecom company, Spectre S.A.L.
“It was so difficult and painful to see so many people suffering and impossible to accept that many Beirutis have become homeless in their own hometown,” explained El Turkey. “I found that the most effective way to provide support was to get a platform for NDU’s Bridging Hearts campaigns, so that the victims to reach out and people willing to donate different types of goods and services have an easy point of contact.”
El Turkey worked with Sabine Terky, part time faculty member at the Faculty of Natural and Applied Science, along with a cadre of NDU students to help develop and maintain the website, and follow up on the aid provided. NDUers Christina Raad, Hadi Zaarour, Tatiana Saba, Elio Tannoury, Kenny Karam, Rebecca Abi Fadel, Elie Matta, and Michel Akl Fares all contributed. El Turkey trained Raad and Zaarour to write the Machine Learning Algorithm (MLA) of the system, with support from Spectre S.A.L Engineers, and Abi Fadel, Fares, and Matta worked as Full Stack Developers.
Spectre S.A.L., a telecom company that specializes the Internet of Things, Machine Learning and Cloud Computing, offered to host the website free of charge, donated 200 food boxes, and shared their expertise in Web Development.
The finished website contains two forms: one for those who need help and one for those who want to donate. The MLA then automatically searches for matches between the requests for donations and the donations provided and notifies the team, who then set about fulfilling the request. The platform thus facilitates donating by matching the donors to those in need directly, with the team on standby to deliver the aid.
“The experience carries mixed feelings,” said Hadi Zaarour. “Looking at the damage to our capital and at those who lost their homes and loved ones was heartbreaking. However, helping those affected lift the rubble, providing them with whatever they need, and seeing their smiles gives you all the satisfaction in the world.”
ndubridginghearts.me will remain live and providing aid until September 2021.