The #BenderaPutih movement has not only provided a lifeline to those in need but has also inspired many to provide help and some are doing it through the digital space. One example is a group of students at Multimedia University who have launched a web app called Sambal SOS.
Previously called the Bendera Putih app, it crowdsources reports of white flags and food bank locations around the country, which streamlines the process of connecting those in need to those who can help. Developed over a period of just four days by Sidharrth Nagappan, Cornelius Pang, and Shaun Mak, the app was originally launched as the Bendera Putih app on 4 July but has since been rebranded to its current name.
Since Sambal SOS is a progressive web app (PWA), this means that it can be accessed through web browsers across various operating systems. As you may expect, users can post out help alerts on the web app either for themselves or on behalf of someone else.
Aside from location and brief description to provide some context for the help alert, do note that the listing on Sambal SOS also requires a picture of the house or building. Each listing request will go through a review process before being published to make sure there are no privacy breaches.
As of now, the app requires users to sign in with their Google account before they can utilise it, as login details are apparently required for authentication to control the server’s API requests, according to Sidharrth.
There are also options to upvote the listing and mark it as “supported” if assistance has been provided but these features are currently being labelled as coming soon. At the same time, the list of food banks that are currently being displayed on Sambal SOS are directly sourced from Google Maps, which is why clicking on the food bank icons on the app’s map directly opens the location on Google Maps’ website instead of an informational pop-up.
However, the developers have linked up a Google Form inside the Food Banks section of the app, so that anyone can input more food banks into the list if they have not yet appeared in Sambal SOS. Sidharrth has also pointed out that the app is a “continuous work-in-progress” which means that you may see new features and improvements to be implemented on Sambal SOS along the way.