"A colleague asked me to help one of his relatives in solving a hacking problem on her device but I had difficulty communicating with her because she was deaf. I started searching for applications in communicating with persons with hearing disabilities in Arabic but I couldn't find any and even the ones I found in English did not provide complete service", said Engineer Salim
Engineer Khalil Salim – Hope's project manager for the development of an intelligent system for people with hearing disabilities – said that he first had the idea for application design in 2013 and it took him two years to fulfill it.
Hope application is one example of this life-changing technology. Hope is the number one app in Deaf communications. A Palestinian engineer from Gaza designed this app to facilitate communicating with the deaf without having to learn sign language.
WHO estimates that more than 5% of the world's population- approximately 360 million people -suffer from hearing loss that causes deficit.
The app operates by converting audio and text to sign language which allows the deaf person to communicate with others on a daily basis.
Salim who holds a master's degree in computer science says, "When I started working on the idea I had a superficial perception on the needs of the deaf but after research I found that the problem wasn't in the community communicating with the deaf but on the contrary it was the deaf ability to communicate with the community".
The application provides a range of services for people with hearing disabilities, including the social video service which aims to integrate people with hearing disabilities to the community, newsletters in sign language, a service to convert audio conversion to writing, and other text-to-voice service, in addition to text magnification to deal with drivers' and shopkeepers.
The app is available in the Arabic language in the Windows and Windows iPhone App Store for $ 5-3 per service. Engineer Salim is trying to develop a version of the application for the mobile operating system Android and IOS.
The application "Hope" was chosen more than 6 times as one of the featured apps in the Windows Phone Store, and Germany is the leading country in using the app while Arab countries are in the bottom. The app has been named the best pilot project in Palestine in 2014, and came first place in the annual competition "Imagine Cup" organized by Microsoft.
The Hope project won funding from the project Seed for supporting and financing small projects among the competing 1000 projects last July, according to Israa Musa –Director of business development in Seed. Seed provides the incubated projects with an estimated grant of 7 thousand dollars in addition to a package of training, consulting and mentoring.
Engineer Musa said that Hope app provides a humanitarian service aimed at helping people with hearing disabilities, in addition to being a growing market which makes it a successful project. She continued saying, "I strongly support the pioneering work that provides humanitarian service. The essence of successful emerging company is to address the problems in the community and to be able to make profit and financial independence at the same time."
The project "Seed" was funded by the Islamic Development Bank in Jeddah, through the United Nations Development Programme "(UNDP)" through economic empowerment Programme "DEEP". This project is being implemented through the Business and Technology Incubator at the Islamic University. The project seeks to support small and private entrepreneurial startups in Palestinian society.