Dating platform for differently-abled persons

Dating platform for differently-abled persons
Highlights

After exploring the digital dating space with an app and meeting possible partners through offline meets, differently-abled people in the national capital will now get to live the city\'s nightlife too.

New Delhi: After exploring the digital dating space with an app and meeting possible partners through offline meets, differently-abled people in the national capital will now get to live the city's nightlife too.

People with special needs across the country found a platform, similar to dating applications such as Tinder and OkCupid, to help them look for suitable partners, with the launch of smartphone application 'Inclov' in January 2016.

A month later, the founders started organising offline meetings, called Social Spaces. The next meetup will be held at a night club in New Delhi on June 26 in the first initiative of the kind in the country.

"We try to do these meetups at different kinds of places. Places where people with disability don't feel secluded, where anyone could be a part of it without feeling awkward," the startup's cofounder, Shankar Srinivasan, told PTI.

The casual meetings had so far been held on beaches, at public parks, yoga studios, cafes, restaurants and hotels. After a positive initial response for the mobile application, which now has over 10,000 users and about 5,000 matches, Srinivasan and his team realised that despite using the application and other ways of communication the users were still hesitant to meet each other.

"Most of the users were not meeting each other in person, because of several reasons like safety and social stigma. More than that, they also don't know if all the places are accessible, with wheelchair ramps, accessible washrooms and so on," he said. So Srinivasan decided that they had to step in.

"This is what we wanted to change with Social Spaces, he said. To underline its theme of inclusivity, the Social Spaces meets are open to all and not restricted to people with disabilities, he added. While a matchmaking meetup sounds like traditional Indian events, Srinivasan says the attempt is to just to help meet and have fun.

"It is not like lining up 10 guys and 10 girls with their biodata. Instead of that we play games, do activities, interact with each other. We also do stand-up comedies, musical performances, Yoga sessions, karaoke, storytelling, poetry slams and much more," he said.

With success stories like that of a Polio-affected couple getting married and more in the making, the team wants to take 'Inclov' to a global level by end of next year.

However, Inclov is not the only one in the digital dating space for differently-abled, another application 'Glimmer' also promises to offer an inclusive space for those looking for partners. While Inclov's Social Spaces have people meeting each other in person, Glimmer's functions are limited to matchmaking.

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