Yoocan is a global empowerment website that strives to unite people with disabilities around the world. Founders of yoocan, Dror Kalisky, Moshe Gaon and Yoav Gaon, created the website to be the leading empowerment source in the world for ideas, tips and solutions to make differently abled people lives more inclusive. Yoocan encourages people to share their personal stories and connect with each other.
See below for a Q & A with the one of the founders of yoocan, Moshe Gaon
Tell us more about the inspiration behind yoocan and the wonderful Erez!
Erez was born in July 2008 with a rare disease that resulted in complex cognitive and physical disabilities. Erez is my nephew, and brother’s son. When a child with a disability is born to family that never experienced something like it, there is a state of sock. You realize that life has changed forever. You suddenly need special products and special services. But where do you go and turn to? The frustration is huge and despite the unknown, you know as a family that you must focus on the positive. There are many products, services and innovations out there for people with disabilities, but people don’t know about them. They are scattered around the world and hard to find and buy. Although there are 1.3 billion people living with disability in the world, they are still overlooked by companies and governments. In the US there are 57 million Americans with disability; 10 million are children.
Our goal in creating yoocan was to empower people that they can do anything. yoocan is about showing stories of other people doing things that they may have never dreamed doing themselves. It’s about connecting them to amazing products, services and innovations regardless of their limitations.
There are so many wonderful service providers and stories collected on yoocan. How did you go about spreading the word and gathering inspirational stories, as well as identifying fantastic organizations working with youth and adults with special needs?
We are happy to say that everyone finds yoocan and what we are doing to be positive and they want to help and/or collaborate. We are doing everyone on a win-win bases. You can join yoocan and present yourself whether you are a storyteller or the leader of an organization- there is no cost involved. yoocan grew via word of mouth and people sharing their personal stories. There are also many fantastic organizations out there! Variety The Children’s Charity was the first to join our community and we are honored they did that. We aim to give back as much as we can to Variety and our other partners in free advertising and promotion. The more we grow the more we can share and change the world. Recently we had a very successful project with ReelAbilites in NY. There was a story competition and the winner’s story will be turned into a short video which will be produced and showcased in next year’s festival.
When it comes to persons living with disabilities, inclusion is often the greatest challenge, especially for youth. What does community mean to you and the team at yoocan?
The yoocan team is part of the disability community. Everyone is strongly connected through work experiences, friends and/ or family. For us, yoocan is as vision to transform people’s life and help them solve problems no one did before. We want to be the leading source for the disability community. We want people to know that together, we are are stronger. We can do more, get more, and help more. My number one belief is that we can achieve more if we work together. yoocan is about empowerment and every day we strive to be the best place for the community to get empowered.
How have you found yoocan has influenced persons who aren’t living with physical challenges?
Recently I presented yoocan at an Impact Network Conference in Paris. I was invited to talk about inclusion in sports. I presented my vision for finding ways to unite the 2024 Olympics and Paralympic games to teach our children that inclusion is possible. We have thousands of followers who are not with a disability themself, but learn through our stories about life and how the statement “nothing is impossible” is real. We want to make yoocan a driving force for inclusion and recognition of a population that has been overlooked for too long by the world.
What do you hope yoocan to achieve over the next year?
We are not a non profit. We built our company as a for profit business to insure it is self sustainable. I hope that with our vision we will bring more investors who believe in what we do. We want people to see us as safe place for them to meet, share and explore. We want companies to get on-board and join us because the more resources we collect, the stronger and more powerful advocate we can be for the community. The more we share the more we can help people and deliver the vision we set out to do – insure that every child, adult and family with a disability believes that they can do anything.