“Christmas Eve to the Chaco”

The project for this course was born from a real cry for help from a user of Zoho Creator to develop an app with a clear social intent.

A school that “wants to do”

The Marianist school, Caballito of Buenos Aires, Argentina, is a regular school as any other. Every day thousands of parents are in a hurry before going to work to leave there what they treasure most: their children.

Math, Chemistry, Languages, Games, … these are the subjects taught on a typical day to the children how are the future of our society. But for a few months each year, just before Christmas, something different happens at the homes of these families.

In 2010 this school’s foundation, launched a program for social action on behalf of disadvantaged families who have fewer resources and limited educations. These families live in very poor areas of the country with practically no access to clean water, electricity, or other amenities that we take for granted.

The idea of the foundation is based on  sharing Christmas Eve with a family – from a distance. The goal is to have one night where families can be joined through the joy of giving.

The family from Buenos Aires puts together some goodies and gifts to share with  another, and make Christmas Eve a special night. Food, gifts for each member of the family, and a warm letter that introduces the Buenos Aires family to the Chaco one are included, letting the families in Chaco know how happy Buenos Aires were to share this gift.

Unlike anonymous gifting programs, this project is different because the family from Buenos Aires knows which family which will receive the box.  The foundation provides basic information about the recipients (their names, addresses, and other details), meaning that each box can be appropriately personalized.

The Marianist Foundation, along with the help of volunteers, have organized this effort. To date, this has resulted in more than 6,000 boxes being delivered to families, over the last five years.

In addition to sending products to celebrate this special night, the box includes a hope to build a more egalitarian society, where hunger and poverty are eliminated from the world.

The work is exhausting, but the results are incredible. The feeling of making a small difference provides an amazing reward for our family, our community, and our world.

Diego is going to be a father


Diego is one of the volunteers for this project. He is going to have another child in the months when the project, “Christmas Eve for Chaco”, will be in full swing.

Diego wants to help with the project this year as well, but with less time to offer, he thought he could help by improving the foundation’s project management system.

Since the beginning, this project has been managed with Excel sheets, Word documents, Whatsapp, SMS, Facebook, and various other tools. These have worked fine so far but they also had many limitations.

Over time, new partners, donors, and recipient families get involved with the project while others leave.  The continuity of information and experience is vital to keeping the project alive.

If Zoho Creator can handle the accounting needs of Diego’s company, couldn’t it also improve the management of this school and their social project?

The challenge, your challenge

The challenge that we propose for this diploma is to create a real application that manages a real project with real requirements.

  • The starting point:
    • Thousands of families are involved as donors
    • Thousands of families are involved as recipients
    • A box of Christmas products is prepared by each donor family
    • The box is stored at different times in different locations (home, school store, truck, warehouse receiver, etc.)
    • There are family groups who serve as donor and recipient coordinators


The objective:

  • Being able to manage the project with a single application where teams work together in collaboration
    • Determining which families and employees participate each year, and if they can all work within the same application
    • Figuring out how they can update information from anywhere. How do they use a cell phone to participate in the project?
    • How can the work of coordinators be simplified and how can theyknow the status of each family, in real time?
    • The application must provide information for decisions to be made
  • Such information might include
    • Where is each box at any time?
    • What are the logistics needs?
    • How will we manage any unanticipated issues and what kind of insurance will there be?
    • How do you know that each box has arrived at its destination?
  • How do you communicate the project’s purpose?
    • How do you motivate families to keep them engaged?
    • How do you keep the families informed, in real time?
    • How do you measure progress and demonstrate it to the community?
    • How do you communicate on social networks and over theweb automatically?

The university appears on the stage

A team of Zoho Creator developers closely linked to the University of Valencia in Spain since the establishment of their company came up with the idea: to teach Creator to anyone who wanted to learn to solve their everyday problems just the way the team does it.

Now various parties are working together: a school doing a social project, Diego who has identified a need that can be solved by by Zoho Creator, developers who have worked with Diego for years have proposed to create a postgraduate study to a university, the following wants to be a conduit for enabling technology to spread. Now, the project is only missing you.

Using a specialized training methodology, each student will create an application to solve this challenge.

Each week, the teaching staff will propose development of a new part of the project that will be assembled with the work that came before. In the end, each student will have a completed, operational project.

Each participant must start from a base structure adding on the proposed modules by teacher to acquire the knowledge necessary in each subject.

And at the end, “Open source”



If something is good, why not share the details? If you like this idea please use it, change it, improve it, and share it, please!

One solution to this challenge developed by the teachers of the course will be published at end of this course in the Zoho Creator Marketplace, along with all other solutions developed by participants.

The code for these applications developed during this project will be available for any future user who wants to study it, or use it in their own applications. This will be the best way to share the outcomes and accomplishments of this project.