Financial independence is fundamental to the dignity of any person; in my opinion (along with the UN), it’s a human right. Yet far too often, people with cognitive challenges are deprived of this fundamental right and are forced to rely either on family and friends, or some other third party to ensure their financial security. ReAble’s core mission is to provide the special needs community with the tools necessary for them to attain financial independence. The initial inspiration for ReAble was my younger brother who was diagnosed with autism when I was still in primary school. Having had the privilege of growing up with a special needs sibling, I have experienced first-hand the huge gap between his often mindblowing talents, and the bottlenecks preventing him from realizing his full potential. Of the bottlenecks that I’d noticed over the years, there was one that I saw as particularly hindering, with no solution in sight.
Understanding the abstract value of paper bills and metal coins is a skill that is generally taken for granted. In my experience, it often surprises people to learn that it is a common challenge for people with intellectual disabilities.
Our solution begins with the ReAble Wallet: an app designed to visually guide users step by step through the process of making a cash purchase; suggesting the optimal combination of bills on hand, and ensuring that they receive the correct amount of change. The other side of Wallet is designed to give parents/guardians peace of mind by providing detailed information on their loved one’s expenditures (time, location, price, and a picture of the item) in real time. Our service is to open up other services to our users, and to make everyday things like shopping, dining, or paying for a taxi safe and possible without any supervision.
Wallet is our first product, but it is far from our last–it’s just the beginning. We are devoted to the complete financial independence of the cognitively challenged community. And how can that be achieved without access to basic banking services, comprehensive budgeting tools, or specialized financial education methods? It can’t. So we are developing solutions for all of these barriers to financial inclusion and more. Everything from personal banking to writing a high quality resume. We take a grassroots, human-centric approach to problem solving.
This is why we believe in an #GiveFirst philosophy; we aren’t looking to build apps for the community, we want to build apps with the community.
Today is Wallet’s first day on the app store, and as part of our community launch we are offering free lifetime subscriptions for the app to anyone who downloads it within the first month.
Try out the app and tell us what you think. Your feedback is invaluable.
“If you think you’re too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito.”
-The Dalai Lama