PETALING JAYA: After successfully launching an online donation app last year to help those financially affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, a teen programmer says he wants to convert it into a more permanent platform.
When 18-year-old Tong Jing Yen created Bersamamu – a free mobile app that allows Malaysians to give and receive donations such as food, clothes and books – he only managed to rack up around 270 downloads on Google Play Store.
Nearly a year later, he has helped over 1,000 users, with more than 100 requests and donations submitted by the community.
Tong said the number of users has since declined significantly as the country is slowly returning to normal after numerous lockdowns, but that does not mean it is the end of the road for Bersamamu.
The app has since evolved into a website, Bersamamu.my, where there is a share function so people can view donations and requests without having to install it.
“Platforms that crowdsource help, such as Bersamamu, will still be useful despite the pandemic becoming a lesser concern for the general public, as there are still people facing difficulties, such as health issues and other emergencies,” he told FMT.
“Also, these platforms will be quite useful in organising help for the victims of natural disasters, such as landslides and floods, which are unfortunately occurring more often in Malaysia today.”
Tong wants to use Bersamamu as a platform to work with other developers or organisations to solve perpetual problems faced by society such as food wastage.
He said his experience working on Bersamamu has not only made him believe in his abilities, but also in the Internet’s potential to help people work together for a common cause.
“After creating Bersamamu, I found out that my programming skills could be used in the real world in a positive and impactful way, instead of just creating stuff for my own amusement. So I’m now more convinced to create solutions to problems that I observe and face, instead of just accepting them.
“It has also made me realise first-hand that the internet removes a lot of constraints that we would normally face when trying to find like-minded people, such as distance, cost, and time. That has led me to be more grateful to be born into the internet generation,” he said.
He also shared how rewarding it felt when he communicated with those who received help through his app, especially a user who was struggling to provide milk powder for her baby.
“It was a pleasant moment for me as they were quite happy and grateful for the help provided by the community. In addition, there are user reviews on the Google Play Store explaining how they received help from the app,” he said.