Hillsborough Nonprofit Works On App For Domestic Violence Victims
Megs Shah of Hillsborough, who co-founded The Parasol Cooperative, recently received a grant from the Bristol Myers Squibb Foundation.
Shah co-founded The Parasol Cooperative to help domestic violence victims find help. (Shutterstock)
Originally posted on The Patch
By Alexis Tarrazi
On April 8th 2021
HILLSBOROUGH, NJ — Hearing the horrifying stories of physical, mental and sexual abuse during the pandemic prompted Hillsborough single mother, Megs Shah, to jump into action.
Shah co-founded The Parasol Cooperative to help domestic violence victims find help. Most recently her Hillsborough-based nonprofit was awarded a grant by the Bristol Myers Squibb Foundation which will help with the creation of an app where victims can go to find help.
It was last year during the height of the coronavirus pandemic when Shah and Fairuz Ahmed of Bronx, NY were part of a Facebook single moms group. They both would constantly hear stories of abuse.
"It was tragic," said Shah.
Shah began to question why isn't there something set up for victims to safely request help.
"People are stuck at home sitting with their abuser and need help," said Shah. Globally, during the pandemic reported cases of intimate partner violence (IPV) have increased on average 25 percent. Nearly 50 percent of cases go unreported for various reasons, especially the fear of getting caught and language barriers.
That's when Shah and Ahmed, who have never met in person, came together to create The Parasol Cooperative.
The Parasol Cooperative believes the lack of reporting surrounding domestic violence could be solved using technology.
The team is on a mission to create a global parasol of protection through a cooperative community and accelerating the work of member domestic violence organizations by providing technology tools, knowledge and services so they can:
Safely communicate with victims of abuse
Increase knowledge sharing amongst member organizations and the survivors they support
Reduce operational costs by using technology efficiently
Through her work with the nonprofit Shah uncovered a study by the World Health Organization on the prevalence of health effects due to intimate partner violence which can lead to cancer and other serious diseases.
Previously working with Bristol Myer, Shah reached out to her former employer about her initiative and the pharmaceutical company was happy to help.
In addition to the Bristol Myers Squibb Foundation, The Parasol Cooperative is in discussions and actively fundraising from corporations and foundations. If an organization is interested in joining the fight against domestic violence and protecting life through technology, they can contact the team through the contact us form, or to make an individual donation visit the fundraising page.
To learn more visit parasolcooperative.org.