Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Meet Maya Cares, a brand new chatbot constructed by, and for, girls of color to confide with one another when coping with racism

Discrimination and racism come at a large price to the Australian financial system and society, as Indigenous Australians and other people of color bear the brunt, particularly in the case of their psychological well being.

In response, these hardest hit by the continuing drawback have constructed a digital platform to assist one another.

Maya Cares is a neighborhood and useful resource platform developed by The Inventive Co-Operative (CCO), the nation’s first totally migrant Ladies of Color-owned, led, and operated startup.

The CCO was additionally a part of Catalysr’s Migrapreneurs fellowship program.

The platform is designed for ladies to report and heal from racism. 


Maya Cares. Photograph: Provided

CCO founder Priyanka Ashraf was grocery purchasing in mid-2020 when she was confronted with by somebody who instructed her to return to the place she got here from and take the COVID-19 virus together with her. 

“When it occurred, I didn’t know who to speak to, the place to go, what to do, to attempt to course of the violence and trauma of that confrontation,” Ashraf mentioned.

“Later a good friend additionally requested why I hadn’t reported it. Firstly, I didn’t know. And as an ex lawyer – if I didn’t know, folks with much less entry than me would have even much less consciousness of rights. Secondly, re-telling your story to somebody who doesn’t perceive or imagine you is re- traumatising, so many ladies don’t report it.”

Maya Cares attracts from the lived experiences of the neighborhood to start tackling these points.

Designed from the enter of over 250 individuals who’ve skilled racism, the platform supplies a secure and supportive neighborhood for victims to have their voices heard and experiences validated. 

This neighborhood has a chatbot powered by Josef, by which customers can obtain quick assist when experiencing racism. 

The chatbot is designed to be pleasant and understanding, so folks really feel comfy speaking to it.

It guides customers by the method of reporting racism or discovering culturally applicable psychological well being assist.

Customers additionally get entry to a library of 100+ culturally-appropriate assets and providers, together with lists of counselors to beat disgrace and self-doubt.


Photograph: Provided

In line with Ashraf, the lasting impression of racism on psychological well being is grossly underestimated and undermined as individuals are usually gaslit into pondering that they think about issues when confronted with racism. 

The highest causes for not reporting experiences of racism had been concern of backlash, disgrace, and self-doubt.

“We requested folks in our communities what they wanted to heal from racial trauma, whether or not within the office, training settings, and even socially. We heard loud and clear the dire want for entry to psychological well being assist providers particularly catered to supporting the experiences of racial trauma of FNBWoC,” Ashraf mentioned. 

Of the 150-plus First Nations and black folks and ladies of color surveyed, round 80% skilled self-doubt in figuring out incidents of racism.

Ashraf expects to see extra racism-related knowledge by Maya Cares. 

There are presently large gaps round this and doesn’t paint the image of the extent of racism in Australia – we’ve solely seen the tip of the iceberg. We hope we will begin to shift the dial on this and to tell coverage makers, determination makers to reply appropriately,” she mentioned. 

The CCO held an internet launch occasion for Maya Cares on March 21.

Ashraf says that is the primary time there was a digital platform of this scale, designed and run by girls who expertise racism.

“By way of Maya Cares, we now have a secure house to reply to, report, and heal from racism and develop consciousness of rights. 

“The platform has two parts; Maya, which supplies in-time assist to customers to reply to racism in a psychologically secure house, and; a useful resource library, which connects FNBWoC with the correct psychological well being professionals and assets, plus an accessible reporting software.”

Income generated by The CCO is re-distributed to assist neighborhood initiatives or fundraisers to lift consciousness of and/or handle systemic racism.

The digital “Massive Sis” supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, Black, and ladies of color is an important step in recognising the impression of racism on psychological well being and offering entry to culturally-appropriate assets and providers. 

Maya Cares is supported by the Victorian Division of Households, Equity and Housing, Josef Authorized, and Humanitech – an Australian Crimson Cross initiative targeted on harnessing know-how’s energy for good by placing humanity first.

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