Life at Deloitte
Making an impact that matters
Adib Ibrahim is a senior manager in the Consulting Middle East practice. He took a sabbatical from his career to address a community health need. He and a group of friends created a start up project to design a health instrument that benefited 30,000 children around the world.
Cerebral Palsy is one of the most common congenital disorders of childhood. It affects muscle tone, movement, motor skills and the ability to communicate. The common approach to communication in this case is to use Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC). There were no solutions in emerging markets like India for affordable AAC technology.
When I first heard about this problem back in 2008, I decided to do something about it. After discussing with my family, I decided to take time off my career to work with speech language pathologists and children with cerebral palsy to develop a cost effective solution that meets their needs.
I moved from my work location in the United Arab Emirates to India and together with a few like-minded friends worked with a number of special needs schools to design the solution, improvise through numerous Proof of Concepts (PoCs), and ultimately, come up with a device that helps children communicate. Our mission was to ‘make every voice heard’, and we named the product ‘Avaz’ which means Voice in the vernacular.
After two years of product development and working through multiple iterations, we launched the product in many schools across India. One of the schools launched a stage play where all the children used our devices during the play to demonstrate its usage. A number of corporate and individual sponsors came forward to fund the device for the schools that we worked with. Within the first three months of launch, we had sold 50 devices in the country.
Avaz today has become one of the leading AAC devices in the world. It is now available on the App Store and Google Play in many markets. I feel proud of the fact that Avaz has now reached 30,000 children around the world. You can learn more about the product in www.avazapp.com.
The experience mattered most to me because it gave me a sense of accomplishment since I was able to use my skills and knowledge to truly make a difference to 30,000 children around the world and growing. I look back at those wonderful days today and hear the sounds and laughter of those first few children whom I interacted with in developing a tool that made a difference to their lives.