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Written by: Sarah Abowitz
One new project joining Helpful this year is an open source podcast about how we leveraged humanitarian engineering to help mitigate issues affecting not only our current pandemic but possibly future ones. My name is Sarah Abowitz, and when I am not volunteering with Helpful as a full-stack developer, I host Helping Hand, a podcast about how the efforts of individual project teams combine into something larger, and we want to have conversations with volunteers like you. Helping Hand is looking for Helpful volunteers with stories to amplify about how they helped their team approach one problem related to current or future pandemics, and what they learned along the way. Together, we can learn what makes open-source humanitarian engineering so, well, helpful.
Being a part of the Helpful machine is exciting to me because I have a chance to use my skills as a developer to help code for social good, but also because of the many brilliant and different people I have met and the ideas they share with me about how we can improve the response systems that are activated when pandemics, natural disasters, and other crises occur. Whenever I finished a task for my team, I would always ask to code whatever features was needed most, given that I had the skills to do so. That mindset of triaging needs as part of my Helpful workflow is one factor that motivated me to make this podcast happen, since I identified a need for recording just what it was our teams were doing to help mitigate a crisis, and I cared enough to make this need recognized and met. It is why I view my role in Helping Hand as both podcaster and historian.
Helping Hand is currently slated to be a limited run of ten episodes that will launch sometime this June, available wherever you listen to podcasts. Again, we are currently looking for guests with stories about what their volunteering taught them, or how their teamwork on a project helped address at least one problem area of the pandemic. If you helped in a way that mattered, whether you check the Helpful Slack every day or used to, consider applying if you want to tell your story. Know someone else in Helpful who might be a great guest? Reach out to them about applying too. You can find the Helping Hand guest application form here. Until then, stay tuned for future updates on Helping Hand.