Friday, February 7, 2014

Roots of Hope hosts first-ever "Hackathon for Cuba"

Our first-ever "Hackathon for Cuba" brought together over 200 people at LAB Miami with the goal of developing new and innovative means to boost the connectivity of youth in Cuba. 

A diverse group of computer programers, app developers and "techies" came together this weekend found creative ways of helping Cubans communicate and connect. For photos of the event, see our Facebook album.

Twelve teams competed and we are thrilled to announce these three winners:

Apretaste, an online marketplace - similar to Craigslist - which allows users to purchase and sell goods and services directly from one another.  Apretaste is completely functional via email, therefore making it accessible to the over 60% of Cuba's population with email access.

Cuba Direct, an email-based application which allows users to access Google searches, Wikipedia articles, Twitter updates and more, without needing a connection to the Internet, and therefore making it accesible to over 60% of Cubans.

Raspberry Pi, a credit-card-sized single-board computer, was adapted to allow Cubans on the Island to create web access points for sharing information with those in their vicinity.

We received an incredible outpouring of support for this project from the local community, as well as press coverage from ForbesNew York TimesMiami Herald and WLRN. Even more poignantly, dozens of Cuban youth currently living on the island reached out to us to lend their personal support for this initiative. 

We look forward to continuing to expand the conversation around technology in Cuba. If you are interested in participating, please email