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Egyptian Entrepreneur Shadw Helal Launches Anti-Harassment App for Android Users in Cairo

The 21-year-old entrepreneur's startup, Rescue App, is creating a network of volunteers to assist women who request assistance through the tap of a mobile screen.

Egyptian startup Rescue has just launched its is security mobile app for Android devices, for both male and female users across Cairo. Spearheaded by young entrepreneur Shadw Helal, the mobile application works through voice order or software button, and resorts to crowdsourcing to tackle one of the most serious problems women face in Egypt: sexual harassment. 

The entrepreneur, who announced the startup to Startup Scene earlier this year, is steering the powerful initiative while studying medicine and running a blog, only at 21. Inspired by a traumatic incident experienced by a friend, she set off to launch Rescue App together with a developer, and made waves across startup competitions, such as the Orange Startup Cup and IEEE’s app development competition in the Middle East. Recently, she entered AUC's Venture Lab’s pre-final round, and qualified for WeMena’s top 200 startups. 

Having  invested 80,000 LE to kick-start the business, the entrepreneur launched a beta version earlier in July, and now runs a network of volunteers ready to assist women in danger. Similarly to Moroccan app Securella, the app - which operates through a freemium model - activates the call to volunteers, distributed across different areas, who can rescue women calling for help.  

"We now have 10 volunteers and have received tens of messages from interested people who want to sign up as rescuers since the launch," Helal tells Startup Scene. The app issues a call to volunteers within a 1 km distance radio, and has a two-way rating system to guarantee the quality and efficacy of the intervention. “You can say the word ‘rescue’ or click on the button and the app will be activated,” she explains.  

“Although the app may not solve the root of the problem, it provides timely and smart assistance for women in any place and at anytime, while raises awareness on the topic," explains the entrepreneur, who aims to extend activities, introducing self-defense lessons for women and awareness campaigns, "to let men know how we feel walking in the streets,” she says. 

"My biggest goal is to have this app revoutionise the entire country, having the needed number of rescuers to cover each residential area, and enough men and women respond to rescue requests. Eventually, I want to restore women’s feeling of safety and security on Egyptian streets, while continuing to raise the awareness regarding sexual harassment," she asserts.

Find out more about the app here.

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