967. Hera Hussain
Hera Hussain, from Glasgow and Pakistan, is the founder of ‘Chayn’, a global organisation that uses innovative digital tools such as chatbots and Snapchat to support victims of domestic violence.
Hera was born in Glasgow and grew up in Pakistan, before returning to the city for university. Inspired by the experience of helping a friend in Pakistan escape an abusive marriage, Hera’s initiative shares information about online safety, identifying manipulative behaviour, building a legal domestic violence case and child custody. Run by an army of 400 volunteers from 15 countries, many of whom have experienced domestic abuse, services are available in nine different languages and there are bespoke sites for India, Pakistan, and Italy.
In a personal letter to Hera, Prime Minister Theresa May said:
“Your work with ‘Chayn’ is providing vital support and information to hundreds of thousands of women across the world experiencing domestic violence. By using your digital expertise you are finding innovative solutions to reach even more women and I wish you every success as you grow the organisation.”
Paul Masterton, MP for East Renfrewshire, said:
“What Hera has achieved with ‘Chayn’ cannot be underestimated. Through her compassion, drive and innovation she has helped countless women right across the world who were suffering, or at risk of experiencing, domestic violence. In putting together a global team of volunteers, many with their own harrowing experiences of abuse, she is helping to equip women to identify and escape manipulative and abusive relationships.
“I cannot think of anyone more deserving of a Points of Lights Award, and ‘Chayn’ should now rightly be recognised as a world-leading tool in tackling violence against women and girls.”
“I’m delighted to get this recognition on behalf of Chayn’s diverse community of volunteers, including survivors of abuse, who find pockets of time during their day to come online and make resources for women like themselves. They use the fire inside them to crowdsource intersectional feminist resources for women who are looking online for help. It’s been amazing to see how other voluntary groups have come together to boost Chayn, especially when it was at its weakest when I was just starting out. Pass it on!”