Image: Benjamin Sow
We speak to a representative from the team that is in the process of developing a new app called Vor. The app is designed to provide direct and immediate services to women, men and anyone else that are vulnerable to harassment and sexual assault, whether it be on the open environs of the streets or in the enclosure of the workplace. Vor will be managed by an organization of staff members that the developers will create alongside the app.
Tell us about yourself. What’s your name, where are you from and which field are you working in?
My name is David. I’m from Palestine and I spent years living in Bethlehem while I’m studying there. I finished my bachelors and then I came back Hebron. I have a degree in Business Administration.
Why did you join the 50:50 Startups Program?
I joined because I find that there is a chance of competing and creating a great idea with different people from different backgrounds. Since they don’t have any connection with other people who live in different places, I thought that it was a good chance to connect and do something with a new idea in order to make it happen in the real world.
How did the idea of your startup come to be? What was the motivation behind it and what do you hope to achieve with it?
The idea started with my partner, Barr. She did an internship or course with Tech2 Peace and she [came up with] this idea about doing something for women, to encourage them to be safe and in a good situation. Since I’m interested in subjects related to humanity, gender issues and harassment, and [one of] my seminars for my bachelors degree was about reducing sexual harassment, I thought that she and I share the same interests, and her ideas should be carried out and everyone should be aware of sexual harassment and sexual abuse, domestic violence, etc,. In those areas, many organizations tried for many years to prevent it, and [their current methods don’t] work, so we [came up with the idea about wanting] to help those organizations and companies to reduce [harassment] and prevent other people from being harassed or violated.
Our idea is [to create an] organization, and one of the main services we are going to offer is an app that contains information about domestic violence, related to the topics I spoke about before. Also, it is a space for women to share their stories and to share what they think. We’re trying to create a community for people to be safe and comfortable. We will also have in our app, a category to report an incident. If a man or woman gets harassed while they are walking on the street, for example, they can report the harassment on the app [and indicate that it happened] at this hour, on this street, [and] at this shop. If we have many reports on the same street or from the same shop, we can notify other users who use our app that this area is dangerous, and that between this hour and this hour, many people get harassed and violated. Also, we also want to help in the workplace. Since many harassments occur in the workplace, employees can report harassment in the workplace, telling us that this and this is happening. We, as an organization, can notify that work organization to do something.
Startup accelerators, specifically the 50:50 program, offer a lot of tools: workshops with experts, networking opportunities, mentoring with the teams. How has the program been so far and how do you think it will help you with achieving your goals in the future?
Well, they do a lot since they are hosting many people from different regions and from different backgrounds. They’re working on the teams and they have a chance to invest in some teams in order to make their ideas into reality. Some teams even have a chance to go to Boston. They also offer a lot. There is a session, I forgot his name but [one of the speakers said if] we wanted help or advice on, for example, technical issues or finance issues, we can text him or send him a message, and he will try to help us.
Interview by: Adi Nassar
Transcription by: Salina Kuo