It all started in 2020 when Megs and Fairuz heard “Stay Home. Stay Safe.” Their first thought was “What if home isn’t a safe place? How will these people reach out for help?”
So later when they heard about the TechStars Startup Weekend COVID event in 2020, they jumped at the opportunity to build out their idea with a group of motivated team members over a weekend. Since then the team has evolved its vision and mission to be what it is today- a safe space for survivors of domestic abuse to connect and seek help!
It was then in July 2020 that it occurred to Megs and Fairuz to combat the staggering rise in gender-based violence. These two technology executives and entrepreneurs joined forces with a group of survivors, advocates and technologists to launch The Parasol Cooperative!
Parasol Cooperative is a group of survivors, advocates and technologists who believe that everyone deserves to live in a safe and healthy environment, devoid of violence and abuse. They have a vision to protect life through technology. The Collective is working towards development of an app and website essentials for a network of survivors of domestic abuse and people alike.
The global pandemic in 2020 was not just an awakening for public health. It was an awakening for people to realise the importance of kindness, empathy and compassion. As much as it restricted and locked people in their homes, they started the value of all the little joys of life. However these joys were not the same for everyone.
As per a report from ForbesWomen, The United Nations observed a 25-35 percent rise in the already staggering numbers of domestic abuse cases, and the UN Women report showed helpline calls “increased five-fold” in some countries due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
During the initial months of the pandemic, Megs Shah, who is an entrepreneur with an electrical and computer engineering background became a part of a Facebook community which was a safe space for survivors of domestic violence. She connected to Ahmed following her publishing an article in the group on domestic abuse. With Ahmed’s background with community development, journalism and journey, the two “clicked”- and that’s where this tale of kindness within the technological space began.
Both these women with their team at Parasol have been successful in their attempts to give kindness a new meaning- through technology. It is with the research and expertise itself that they were able to see the realities and check for a solution for a problem as vast as domestic violence.
Little tales of kindness and empathy don’t always need to have superstar figures. For Megs Shah and Fairuz Ahmed, kindness gained another new meaning- through a need to help so many women get out of the shackles of domestic abuse and provide them with a safe and welfare oriented space. Technology and skills came to these two as the way to help out people.
“Protecting lives through technology” is the aim of The Parasol Collective which will allow organizations and victims to communicate safely with each other and create a network which they could fall back to for help, support and care.
With eight, all-volunteer staff, last October the group secured the Peace Development Fund’s fiscal sponsorship to raise funds for their programs and sponsor memberships from individuals, foundations, and corporate and government sources etc. They have been on their mission to develop the network of this technology and ensure that they impart help, empathy, care and help in everyone.
Here’s to more women coming together and transforming the world for everyone who is in need!
You can read more about The Parasol Collective by clicking here
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