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#IAmAlive: One Woman’s Invention Turned A Joke Into A Rescue Tool

They say home is where the heart is. That’s why 26-year-old Sandra Hassan, despite living in Paris, felt she “had to do something” when a car bomb went off in Lebanon last January 21.

“As soon as there is an explosion, we all jump to our phones to call our beloved ones and make sure they are safe,–even more so when people live abroad, like myself”, she says. The thought triggered a “eureka” moment, the fruit of worry and dark humor: “we should have a mobile app to say I’m alive every time this happens.”

Looking back on her brainwave, Hassan recalls: “I didn’t expect such a reception when I first published it, but over time it has become more of a practical tool and I am constantly receiving feedback from users to update it.”

Simplicity is the app’s major oyster: once users sign up, they automatically get a list with their contacts’ statuses, and in case of emergencies, they can update them at the click of a button. It can also be linked to Twitter or Facebook, so that a status update is also posted with the hashtags #iAmAlive and #Country; the feature is available online for Android and will be soon ready for iPhones too.

The app has proved so useful that it has transcended Lebanon’s borders and gone global as an aid to emergency response efforts in natural disasters. “It is somehow unsettling to see that this type of application could actually serve a real purpose,” the young inventor says, “but I’m glad if it helps people get in touch and alleviate worry.”

For more info – I’m Alive App

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Valentina Primo

Journalist, globetrotter, and determined idealist. Since Valentina left her home country of Argentina, she has searched for ways to build bridges between cultures and foster dialogue. Her previous work in international organizations in Italy and Germany fed her passion for the world of development, while her 8-year journalistic experience in Argentina and Egypt increased her curiosity for everything that challenges the stereotype. She holds a BA in Journalism and a Masters in Peace Studies with a specialization in Human Rights.

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