Associação Crescerbem is a Private Social Solidarity Institution, founded in 2011, and its main goal is to help families of hospitalised children in economic deprivation. The association started in Dona Estefânia Hospital in Lisbon, where the headquarters still remain nearby. Meanwhile, the support has been extended to Santa Maria Hospital and Beatriz Ângelo Hospital.
The mission of Crescerbem is, specifically, to provide for families in a personalised manner, according to the specific needs of each case and helping them become more independent and autonomous. This way, follow-up does not happen only when a child is hospitalised, but also in the period after the medical discharge.
The association started offering home support and, through that, other needs started to be identified besides medical follow-up; from that point on, countless parallel projects came to life, such as the solidarity pantry (food baskets provided to families), the laundry service, and the solidarity pharmacy (which provides the necessary medication).
Despite the number of families helped and the number of existing cases, all the information was still offline. This means that it was impossible to access the necessary information without physically being in the association’s headquarters. Volunteers spent hours searching for case files and updating them, which resulted in a huge lack of visibility on the current state of each support case. Therefore, computerising all this information was critical. However, there was a problem: the lack of financial means to spend on technological solutions that could put an end to this problem.
It was at this stage that Donate IT – a community of volunteers who work with information technology – came into action through Sofia Neto, community volunteer and Collaboration & Development Solutions Lead from Xpand IT. Sofia managed to unite her work at Donate IT to the movement Pledge 1% – a movement which Xpand IT joined in 2017, thereby committing to annually donate 1% of profit and 1% of products to social solidarity institutions. Completely pro bono, Xpand IT made Jira Software available to Crescerbem (including implementation and support), thereby accomplishing Donate IT’s vision – helping to help others – and Pledge 1%’s vision.
Besides being extremely important to the computerisation of all documents of Crescerbem, this project proves that Jira Software has a lot more uses than software management. In practice, it can be adapted to any reality.
Inside the association, each family corresponds to an ‘issue’ in Jira. When support to a new family starts, a new issue is created and the type family is chosen. Each issue has the complete information that characterises each family: information including when the support started, how many children, which country the family is from and the contact details of the parents.
Everything is organised in different tabs in order to make viewing and editing of the information on each family easier, and all initiatives are considered subtasks: e.g. home support or medication provided. Therefore, a new registry of everything that happens has become an integral part of the process, and everyone with access permission can access that information anywhere.
Xpand IT is already working on the new release and it will have two goals: the first one is to introduce Confluence to further facilitate the sharing of information about tasks to be undertaken or families with open cases; the second one is to include Xporter, so that the association can easily export a report, for example, and to always be able to present it with the best formatting.
With this software, we have the ability to computerise all social processes and this means that access to all information related to the families is only a click away. What is the importance of this change? We will have more time. Time to begin expanding to other hospitals; time to help more families; and time to move forward with the idea of a social business, which will make Crescerbem self-sustaining.