BillionAbles, a social enterprise working towards accessibility, inclusion and empowerment of persons with disabilities by introducing them to a more inclusive and accessible world has recently launched India’s first Lifestyle App ‘BillionAbles’ on Google Playstore which aims to serve as an Access Guide to persons with disabilities. The app which was launched in July has 2000+ downloads, with 1000+ listings of disabled friendly places with 300+ verified listings.
Taking note of BillionAbles’ efforts in bringing the long neglected issue at the forefront, the startup has been chosen in the Bootstrap track of FbStart of Facebook. The program is specially designed for early stage startups with a recently launched app. The app was chosen because of its impressive development so far and its potential for continued growth. The program provides tools and services worth 40000$ from 30 third party partners, connect with global community and support & mentorship from facebook product managers, engineers, and operations through events, office hours, webinars, email and more.
As an icing on the cake, the startup has also been selected to FbStart for social good which entitles them to receive support and advice from Facebook's non-profit and social good teams, including Internet.org. It will help them connect with people and organizations related to their cause through events and online groups. It also links with exclusive access partners that are dedicated to helping social good organizations stay focused on the mission and succeed.
BillionAbles has also started its offline events for listing disabled friendly places. On July 30th 2017, a first of its kind event, #AccessHunt was organised in the heart of nation’s capital, Connaught Place. The main aim was to identify and locate accessible venues in CP viz. restaurants, cafe, shops etc. suitable for wheelchair users, blind users or deaf people as well as creating awareness and sensitizing the merchants/shop owners towards the issue of disability access in the area. The event saw a successful participation of 70+ volunteers who in a short span of less than 3 hours were able to identify 150+ disabled friendly places in the area.
The next chapter of #AccessHunt is scheduled on 24th September, 2017 at Lajpat Nagar in association with ‘Noida Institute of Engineering and Technology’ as the volunteering partner and ‘Wheelchair Rugby Team of India’ as the community partner.. This time, the plan is to map full market with 100+ volunteers who would be visiting in teams identifying and locating accessible venues viz. restaurants, cafe, bars, shops etc. suitable persons with special needs and list it on the BillionAbles app. This crowd sourced social revolution is all set to bring accessibility at the fingertips of its beneficiaries.
We are sure that like #AccessHunt in CP, this too will turn out to be an eye opening experience for the participating volunteers. Like before it will open a whole new concept of accessibility for them as when the volunteers were analysing the places in CP, they were surprised to find the lack of accessibility in the area and could actually relate to the pain of those who have to go through this day in and day out. The volunteers took a lesson for their lives on that day.