Sophomores combine their talents to help politically active youth through app

May 25, 2018 — by Ava Hooman and Esha Lakhotia

Two sophomores create ViRally, an app that helps people find rallies and protests.

When sophomores Mita Kongetira and Sidney Hough read a writing prompt in their English class last fall — whether one person could challenge social injustice — they had an idea to inspire change in their own community by developing an app.

“We thought the prompt was an interesting question and saw it as an opportunity to create an app, especially with all of the walkouts and protests going on right now led by youth,” Hough said.

The app, called ViRally, will help students who wish to take part in the movement for gun control find a more effective way to express their beliefs. The goal of the free app is for politically active teens to learn about protests near them. They can either start their own protests or join others’. They are still developing the app, which leaves room for other methods as well.

Kongetira and Hough began working on the app in mid-March and pitched it at Technovation, a regional entrepreneurial tech competition aimed at girls, on May 19. In the end, the pair they won the contest. They are now selected as finalists and will attend a world pitch this August.

They aim to release the app this summer with the target audience in California. Over the next three years, they plan to expand it to the whole world, as well as make donations to charities and organizations with the revenue they will receive through advertisements.

The free app displays a feed of rallies near the user’s location. It also gives the option to contact local social media companies to advertise rallies or protests.

“We came up with this name since it’s an app that helps rallies go ‘viral’ in a sense,” Hough said.

Both students view rallies as especially important in today’s society because of recent events like the Women’s March and the anti-gun protests. They hope to help students realize that their future and the future of their friends and classmates are in their own hands.

Rallies and protests give students the opportunity to take more control of their futures,” Kongetira said. “Unfortunately, many have difficulty finding time to create or even attend rallies, which is one of the key reasons we have created the app.”

Hough is designing and developing the app while Kongetira is managing the marketing and business aspects of it. Their plan is to contact investors and work to implant advertisements in the app to make revenue. Though the app has taken months of hard work and planning, Kongetira and Hough have done extensive research and are ready for the challenge.

Hough has had a strong extensive coding background and released her first app called Earth Points on the App Store before her freshman year. She also took AP computer science (APCS) last year so that helped with the development of the app.

Though the app is a challenge to develop, they are looking forward to the final result.

“Young people deserve a voice in policy making and have the potential to really make a difference,” Hough said.

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