“Speaking with Julis”
It was her sister Julis who inspired Daniela Galindo to launch her own company. Julis was born with a disability and was therefore not able to speak. Daniela developed a technological solution: a software program to aid communication by using a database with words depicted by images. Julis tested the first “home made” version and proved that it worked. Hablando con Julis (in English: “Speaking with Julis”) was born.
“When I grew up, I heard so many negative things about my sister from other people. That she would never be able to speak, learn, or do anything. I felt the need to show people that this disability doesn’t mean she can’t do anything, she just has to do it in other ways.
We started with the idea of using images to transmit a message. People who are not able to speak or write can use our images to create sentences. We connected the images with words and voices. With these tools, people with autism, Down’s syndrome, cerebral palsy, deafness, people who are illiterate or have other learning disabilities are able to develop writing and speaking skills.
I will never forget the moment when my sister came back from her room and demonstrated us her first written sentence: “Tomorrow Jack (our dog) will be two months old”.”
“It took a lot of time to come up with the right software. But that wasn’t even the hardest part. It was difficult to convince people of the social purpose. In South America, people with disabilities are ignored by society, a forgotten group, who are socially excluded.”
“We are not just selling the software but a solution. We help with the process of education and learning. People abroad are starting to recognize and support our concept. We won last years innovator under 35 years old competition held by MIT technology magazine and we ended up in the top three companies nominated in the category innovation and social entrepreneur of Pitch at Palace Global. We are now working with the British embassy to see how the UK market works in order to launch our product there in the future.”
BEING AN ENTREPRENEUR
“I am very happy I chose this entrepreneurial path. Being a part of a project and watch it grow, seeing that my efforts, tears and smiles all lead to something is satisfying. It’s very gratifying to see people improve their communication skills with our system. My biggest personal achievement is the personal development of my sister. She is right now a part of the team and able to do interviews and work with us.”
This article is one in a series presenting finalists from previous editions of the Accelerate2030 global scaling program. The third edition of the program in currently in the national scale-readiness phase and the international finalists will be selected at the end of August. The international finalists will be present at the Impact Hub Geneva and the SwissSustainable Finance week from the 4th until the 11th of October.
The article was originally published 3/10/2017 on the blog of Impact Hub Geneva and is written by Marlou Dahmen.