Saudi “Touching Care” has been selected as one of the semi-finalists teams for this year’s MIT Enterprise Forum Pan Arab Region Startup Competition for the Start-up Track.
When Rawad Sheikh Al Shabab’s grandmother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease she realized how challenging it is to be a caregiver for an Alzheimer’s patient. With time Rawad and her family felt that they lacked both emotional and social support and as the disease progressed so did the amount of time that they spent taking care of their loved one.
Inspired by her experience, Rawad established an application that aims at supporting the caregivers of Alzheimer’s patients by providing comprehensive information, tools and resources and most importantly social and emotional support.
Rawad a masters degree graduate founded “ Touching Care” a social venture that is designing an application that empowers caregivers with the knowledge they need to care for patients, in addition to useful resources and everyday tips and techniques which caregivers can access and share with one another.
The application which is called “The Grandma, Grandpa Book” is the only social network for Alzheimer’s Caregivers. The applications key features include medication reminders and memory enhancement tools. Rawad and her team are collaborating with a number of medical associations in the region, including the "Alzheimer's Friends Society" in Jeddah and the American University of Beirut all of whom have offered their endorsement and support throughout the product's development.
The “Grandma, Grandpa Book” App also includes several features including a chronological photo album, which allows caregivers to upload photos and store them sequentially in order to help patients recall when pictures were taken, a timetable for when medicines should be taken, memory boosting games, a multimedia player where favorite songs and home movies can be stored and played, in addition to a “caregiver’s lounge” where Alzheimer’s caregivers can connect with one another and share advice and experience. The app also provides opportunities for volunteers who want to get involved in the fight against Alzheimer’s. The Application is currently supported by apple platforms and is available in English, Arabic and French and will also be available in Spanish at a later stage.
Hope for the Future
“Because nobody should face Alzheimer’s disease alone, this application empowers care givers by allowing them to share their stories and will hopefully act as a source of inspiration and hope for caregivers around the world” says Rawad. Establishing social ventures in the Middle East such as Touching Care is yet another indication of how the Arab youth of today are capable of finding solutions to global problems.
Touching Care will attend a two day workshop in Qatar in April 25 along with 49 other teams, where they will receive coaching, training and network with other entrepreneurs from the Arab region and meet the region’s major players in the entrepreneurial ecosystem. Semi-finalist ideas or startups in ICT, digital media, and mobile will automatically qualify for the Oasis 500 training and acceleration program http://www.oasis500.com/ , which is a six-day training program that covers all business aspects, including business modeling, financials, pitching, facilitation and marketing.
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