Student-Built 'Bendera Putih App' Allows Users To Upload White Flags & Food Banks On Map

The web-based application can be installed to your phone regardless of its operating system.

Cover image via Aziah Azmee/Harian Metro & SAYS

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In light of the #BenderaPutih movement, a group of students came together to build an application that allows people in need to get help faster

Calling it Sambal SOS, the application allows users to upload photos of households that put up a white flag outside their homes on a map.

This, in return, will allow other users who are keen to help to send food aid to the families in need.

The app also allows users to find food banks on the map so that people know where to fill up their stomachs when they cannot afford food.

The web-based app was previously called 'Bendera Putih App' before being given a new name today, 5 July.

Speaking to SAYS, the team of three coding students said the motivation behind building the app is to create a centralised platform where users can provide and ask for help with ease

The team consists of Sidharrth, Shaun, and Cornelius, aged between 18 and 21.

"Currently, the data for people who need help [are reported via] WhatsApp and phone lines, a lot of different sources. So we just try to crowdsource the data into one place where people can refer to. This (application) sort of centralises it," the team explained.

They shared that the app was hastily built in three days. Hence, the team is currently trying to fix any bugs, before adding more features and recruiting volunteers to work on the project together.

When uploading photos of a household flying a white flag outside their homes, they encourage users to take the photos without revealing the faces of the family members, number plates, or any information that invades their privacy.

The team said that they will vet through all the submitted photos before releasing the information on the crowdsourced map.

"This is to prevent spams on the map, protect their privacy, and only feature actual people who need help," they said.

Image via SAYS

There are currently about 20 food banks on Sambal SOS App complete with names, addresses, and websites

They said the team will be crowdsourcing more food banks to include them on the map.

Of the food banks found on the map so far, SAYS sighted many popular soup kitchens, such as The Lost Food Project, Yayasan Food Bank Malaysia, and Kechara Soup Kitchen, among others.

There are also five siren icons on the map at the time of writing, indicating that these households need food aid.

The number of siren icons on the map is expected to grow as the app gets more users.

The app is a progressive web app (PWA) — a type of application software delivered through the web which is built by using common web technologies including HTML, CSS, and JavaScript

However, it can be made into an app on your mobile home screen just like any native app.

Here is how to make the app appear on your home screen:
iOS: Visit the website via Safari, click the share icon, and select 'Add to Home Screen'
Android: Visit the website via Chrome, click the menu icon (three-dot icon in the upper right-hand corner), and select 'Add to Home Screen'

Image via SAYS

Recently, Malaysians launched the #BenderaPutih movement to help people in dire need:

Here are individuals who have received help after flying a white flag outside their homes:

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