Dubai-based Malayali student’s app earns Apple’s approval, numerous prizes

Danel Koshy Jijo with his parents. Photo: Manorama Online

Dubai: An application created by Danel Koshy Jijo (13), an eighth-grade student in a Dubai school who hails from Kerala, is collecting several awards. The app, named Hello K3 (KT-Alternative Alphabet), is aimed at nurturing the mental health of students and has been adopted by the App Store. Danel was also the winner of this year’s iOS Design Challenge.

“I developed the app to strengthen the psychological condition of children with the help of games,” said the youngster, who studies at Gems Legacy School in Dubai.

Danel participated in the iOS Design Challenge 2023 held in Abu Dhabi and was, along with a friend, among the few children selected for special training by the organisers.

Subsequently, Danel attended the training along with the friend as a two-member team. During this time, Danel decided to develop an app of his own. However, his first challenge was to decide on what type of app to develop.

The app 'Hello K3' created by Danel Koshy Jijo. Photo: Manorama Online

Meanwhile, while attending a school-level programme, Danel realized the importance of students’ mental health. He pondered over how he could contribute in this regard and felt that children need to be mentally empowered with the aid of fun and games. Soon, Danel began working on his app with the help of the Internet and Google. Danel received good support in this regard from Pooja, an instructor at his school.

It was Pooja who had informed Danel of the iOS Design Challenge and enrolled him and other students in the school who were interested in this activity, for the event. Danel’s team soon submitted a proposal for the Challenge and also developed a prototype.

Two months later, results of the Challenge were announced and his team was among the 200 selected from the 400 entries. The team aimed to win a Mac M2 to play and copy the apps developed by it. They also could join a 180-hour quick learning programme and an opportunity to become a pro-level Apple coder. Soon, courses started at HTC (Higher College of Technologies) and the class was from 10 am to 4 pm every Saturday. Two teams and six students from Danel’s school took part in the programme.

Danel Koshy Jijo. Photo: Manorama Online

Later, all the teams were separated and each student developed individual apps. After 14 or 15 classes, the students were instructed to connect their apps to the App Store for evaluation. The first step in this regard was signing into the Developer Account.

Danel’s app was initially rejected six times as Apple sought some clarifications. But when the youngster provided satisfactory explanations to the six queries raised by Apple, his app was given the status of ‘for sale’ or published on the App Store.

Until now, seven of his apps have been published and 12 are awaiting peer review, said Danel.

Danel has also won the K12 aircraft design challenge. He represented his school at COP27 held at Harriet University and was the winner at the First Lego League (FLL) replay. Another achievement of Danel is a gold medal on three occasions at the National Astronomy and Space Olympiad. He has won several other contests too. 

Danel is the son of Jijo V John of Thodupuzha, who works in the finance section of a private firm in Dubai and Surya Rajan Jacob. Danel has a brother Habel Jacob Jijo, who is a student.

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