Inclov: An Indian gives the world its first matchmaking app for people with disability
Inclov (Inclusive Love), is the world’s first match making app for people with disabilities and health disorders such as depression, autism, thalassaemia and kidney failure.sex and relationships Updated: Jun 28, 2017 17:27 IST
“Life is all about balance. Since I have only one leg, I understand that well.”
― Sandy Fussell, Author
Did you ever wonder if any of the current online dating apps in India like Tinder or Truly Madly cater to the differently-abled? Or about whether the disabled population in India actually has decent avenues for matchmaking or dating? This is why we spoke with Kalyani Khona, co-founder of Inclov (Inclusive Love), the world’s first match making app for people with disabilities and health disorders, and came away with a new perspective on the issue.
What kind of challenges did you face while starting Inclov?
Kalyani: We launched Inclov in January 2016. Initial challenges included getting people to use the app. For example, every disability has certain limitations. If you are hearing impaired you cannot converse on the phone, or if you are blind then how would you see the profiles? We made sure that the app is made in such a way that a person with any kind of disability can use this app without depending upon friends or family.
We also have an offline meetup program called Social Spaces which takes place once a month in Delhi, Jaipur, Gurgaon, Mumbai, Chandigarh, Chennai and Bangalore; we shall also be holding them at Pune and Hyderabad. But people travel to different cities for this - so you shall have someone travelling from Bangalore will go to Chennai Social Space or somebody from Delhi would go to Jaipur Social Space- because they also want to meet new people.
Our meetups are totally inclusive, in the sense that there are ramps at the entry and exit points, washrooms are accessible at a certain height and there are sign language instructors for the help of the hearing impaired- so that everyone can participate.
Could you tell us about some of the success stories on Inclov?
Kalyani: In terms of marriage, Anu (she is a Miss Wheelchair runner’s-up and a gold medalist in rifle shooting) and Imran got married within 10 days of our launch, they’re both from Gujarat and Anu was looking for someone for 8 years. They both have movement related difficulties due to being afflicted with polio. Anu was very hesitant about joining the app and said she would try it out for 5-6 days and if nothing happens shall delete it. Within 10 days we got a call from her saying that she had found someone – in fact they just celebrated their first anniversary recently!
Some are engaged while others have remained in touch as friends and I keep seeing their Facebook posts where they are hanging out together. The point of all of this is to get them out of that social isolation and help them make more friends. We’re not saying that you should just go to this social space and meet your life partner, we’re saying that this is an interesting way of meeting new people and if you find someone interesting then feel free to take things forward with them.
How did your parents, friends, relatives react when you said you were going to make a dating app for differently able people?
Kalyani: Everyone was super supportive- in fact one of my very close friends ended up becoming the co founder (Shankar Srinivasan). There are also people on the app who do not have any disability and aren’t hesitant of finding a life partner who has a disability. We also have people with health disorders who are interested in exploring what the entire app is about.
How many people are there on Inclov?
Kalyani: We have 10,000 people who have downloaded the app and around 3,000 use it regularly. We have very strict curation laws and are not into the whole quantity of profiles. In fact we only show five profiles everyday and say that these are the most active profiles in your area who match your criteria.
What are the different kinds of differently abled people on the app?
Kalyani: There are people from 300 cities in India with the basic disabilities being hearing impaired, vision impaired, and paraplegic- but there are also people with mental disorders, depression, autism, thalassaemia and kidney failure. The list would probably go into the thousands, in fact according to the World Health Organization (WHO) one in four people in the world will be affected by mental or neurological disorders at some point in their lives.
For those wanting to know more, Inclov is holding India’s first inclusive nightlife meetup for people with/without disabilities at Kitty Su, Delhi on 25th June, 2017 from 7 pm to 2 am.
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