An Australian social platform designed to help people with disabilities make friends and expand their social circle has launched in a bid to reduce loneliness.
Alvie, founded by CEO Steve Bear, was born out of first-hand realisation of how difficult it can be for children with disabilities to find friends they can relate to.
The Queensland-based social platform was created to break down the barrier of social isolation felt by people who live with disabilities. Bear, who spent many years running overnight camps for children with disabilities, saw how critical it was for disabled people to have the ability to connect with like-minded souls who share similar life experiences, interests and hobbies.
“From my experience of working with many children with all kinds of disabilities, I understand that loneliness and isolation is one of the biggest challenges these kids face on a day-to-day, and can lead to lack of personal and social development, as well as an increased risk of mental illness,” Bear said.
“Building Alvie was an opportunity to give people with disabilities at any age, a safe space created specifically for them, where they can feel comfortable, accepted for who they are and experience more social interactions that will hopefully form into meaningful friendships.”
Alvie’s algorithm has been designed to curate an experience wherein members are matched based on similarities in interests, location, age, and hobbies.
“Alvie’s aim is to match people with a disability who have similar interests and hobbies, so they can easily connect, make meaningful friendships and make the most out of life,” Mr Bear said.
In addition to one-on-one online chats, the NDIS-friendly app provides assistance in facilitating in-person meetups. AI-powered content moderation systems are in place to ensure chats (and potential harmful content) are monitored.
Bear is focused on safety for users, so the onboarding process includes an Australian police check and other steps prior to certified membership.
The Alvie web-app is free for users until mid February and everyone who signs to the platform during the 90-day free period will receive a 50% discounted membership.