Corporate Social Responsibility

Code for a Cause

This November several Non Profits from across India were invited to participate at the eBay Opportunity Hack. Held at their Chennai and Bangalore offices this tech for good event was created by a cross-functional team at eBay with an idea of matching highly-skilled volunteers (i.e. top-notch engineers and other professionals from eBay and other local companies) with Non-Profit organizations that need technological solutions to address critical challenges.

iVolunteer presented our challenge of ‘Inspiring a nation to Volunteer by sharing stories of Everyday Heroes to this platform.’ We made it through the initial rounds and were invited to ‘Pitch’ our challenge to an audience of about 120+ software engineers, developers and designers.

Ebay Hack-a-thon 2014It was heartening and encouraging to see the diverse and intriguing nature of 20 odd challenges that were presented in total. These included a whole range of needs from Web cum Mobile based Apps that  aid in real time updates for Blood Donation to apps to help identify missing children and ways for people to track and monitor their carbon footprint.

All the volunteers were engaged and determined to leave only once they had achieved some tangible good.


The three volunteers who worked on the ‘iVolunteer Awards Web App’ were Charanjit Singh, Pulak Bhattacharyya and Jignesh Kakadia. They didn’t sleep at all, determinedly coding for 36 hours!

These volunteers not only built this platform from scratch but are also co-ordinating with friends and colleagues to help finish the iVolunteer Awards Web platform and add new features to it!

Here are excerpts from a chat with these volunteers.

Tell us about yourself – “I am currently working as software engineer at InMobi and have I worked on C++, Javascript and C. My area of expertise is Full-stack Web Development, Node.js and Backbone. I heard about Hack-a-thon via – Jignesh Kakadiya

“ I am a technology enthusiast having more than 9 years of experience in varieties of web technologies like HTML5, CSS3 and JavaScript MVC frameworks. I came across Ebay hack-a-thon through social media and a few friend told me about it.”  – Pulak Bhattacharyya

“I work as an independent software contractor. Being a freelancer, I’ve worked in diverse technologies from writing web, desktop and mobile applications to Javascript and Python. I also have experience in maintaining infrastructure for large apps aka database/sys admin. I came to know of Ebay Hackathon from Pulak whom I met at a meeting.” – Charanjit Singh

Any particular reason why you chose to volunteer / hack for iVolunteer Awards?

It was my first hackathon and it was a wonderful experience. Writing code for about 30 hours straight with two very smart people, well that’s a luxury. I came to ebay hackthon with my own idea about creating awareness among masses, about people who actually care about society. iVolunteer has similar motives and is an already established platform, so I decided to hack for them. We had very limited deadline and we were almost done with writing all the code. We were wondering if we had got it right? But When team iVolunteer liked the app, that was a glorious moment. – CharanjitEbay Hackathon volunteers

I really appreciate the job what iVolunteer is doing and strongly believe in encouraging and rewarding people to volunteer for a social cause. This can make a big impact in our society and the Ebay hack experience was amazing. During the project execution, we did not sleep! That was quite memorable as i remember how darkness ended with the morning sun” – Pulak

“There were many NGOs that participated at Hackathon. I was excited and even If I was able to solve a single problem of organization, it would be a great experience. This was the first time I was awake for 40 hours straight. It was fun to see the project grow from zero, to live and usable by the end of the day. We all had different skill sets. But after few hours of started working on project, it felt like we are the team that any project requires.” – Jignesh

Tell us about your other volunteering experiences

 I have volunteered before with Mozilla and KDE, both are Open Source Organizations. It feels amazing after you contribute. Volunteering is an opportunity you should never miss. Please contribute to open source and volunteer with NGOs. They are looking for volunteers to make peoples life easier and while contributing and one gets an opportunity to work with great minds. – Jignesh

Ebay hack, was the first time I volunteered for a social cause and I felt very happy and satisfied to contribute technologically towards a noble cause that iVolunteer has been doing all these years. I urge fellow I.T professionals to volunteer their technical skills and expertise to help such NGOs  – Pulak

I have volunteered  before in my home town, but never as a software developer. Volunteering to code for a cause is good and one of the best things a coder can do for himself. It’s inspirational and fun at same time. – Charanjit


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