#NE100 Talk with Enys Mones

NE100 Team

The InfoAid app provides quick, reliable, linguistic specific information for refugees arriving in Hungary. The app was co-created by Enys Mones, a Hungarian theoretical physicist with a keen interest in app development.

How did you come up with the idea for the InfoAid app?

Nina Kov called asking me to help her with this project, the app was an idea envisioned by Nina Kov and her husband, and I joined after as a developer. We conceptualized the app together, everyone in the group had an impact on the final product. We also received feedback from the app’s users, this helped us to make a more usable app for the refugees.

How people learn about this app?

In the beginning, volunteers handed out flyers and also spread information about the app through direct contact, mostly in refugee camps and at stations in Budapest, Hungary. Now, that we have received some media coverage, people are able to find the app on the web, in various articles and we also spread it through social networking sites (Facebook, Twitter). Also, users can share the messages they received in the app and the shared news is then tagged with the app’s name, further facilitating its distribution. Technology is now becoming a major help during the migration crisis.

What other projects in that area do you find important/interesting?

There are some sites that show maps for the refugees, this is extremely important in some areas (especially in Croatia due to the remaining mines in some regions). Also, although our app started as a one direction news channel for the refugees with up-to-date information, we also included a refugee phrasebook later, which is a very nice initiative that came from a group in Berlin. So, collecting people from around the world to take part in translations and the creation of a useful dictionary for them that they can use, this is a nice example. Also, there is a very nice app in Turkey from a Syrian developer (cannot recollect the name unfortunately) that helps refugees and immigrants assimilate. The app gives some advice about jobs, Turkish culture and also important expressions.

Do you have any new ideas in that respect?

I could imagine an app that works as a platform for refugees communicating with each other about some problems that arise during their travel. There is Facebook, Twitter, Whatsapp and Snapchat that I am aware of that refugees use, however, in many cases I've heard that those escaping death are concerned about their privacy, so maybe an app that requires the very minimum permissions would be popular.