Israel Enlists Religious Young Women to Fight Social Ills Using Technology

26 Dec 2018

What Should I Do is an interactive app designed to help autistic children role-play some common scenarios, minimizing the need for frequent doctor appointments and other changes to their routines that can cause distress. The app was designed – for free – by Roni Ashkenazi and Ayelet Ganot, two 18-year-old Israeli women, as part of Carmel 6000. Carmel 6000 is a new Israeli national service program intended to “harness the power of tech for social purposes.”

The Carmel 6000 program focuses on women, mostly religious, who choose to participate in national service rather than the military. The program is also an attempt to close the gender gap, since women are underrepresented in coding, engineering and entrepreneurship.

Approximately 30 young people are currently taking part in Carmel 6000, following a successful pilot program in 2017; all but one of the participants are religious women. After a six-week “boot camp” in programming, the women are assigned projects developing applications for nonprofits and learning with mentors from tech firms. For two years, program participants will use existing technologies to help populations including the elderly, the disabled and other at-risk groups.

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