Wamiq Hassan, Pakistan’s first deaf software engineer, was inspired by his disability to develop an app to help deaf and hard-of-hearing Pakistanis, especially women, communicate more easily in a country where there are approximately 10 million hearing impaired citizens.
The DeafTawk mobile phone app, available globally, aims to bridge the gap between hearing-impaired people and their respective communities by providing a “real-time sign-language solution at their fingertips.”
The assistive app allows deaf users to sign up, connect with qualified interpreters, and use the service to communicate with anyone, including doctors, teachers, cab drivers, and relatives.
The app currently has over 18,000 users and employs around 1,100 professional interpreters, offering services in six different language styles, including Pakistani, American, British, Chinese, Singaporean and Malay.
Founder Hassan told Arab News he moved to the United States around 15 years ago because it was difficult for a deaf person to access quality education services in Pakistan. In 2015, he returned to his home country as a trained software engineer, and in 2019 co-founded DeafTawk with friends Ali Shabbar and Abdul Qadeer, who are both visually-impaired.
“The basic inspiration behind the development of this app is to uplift the deaf community and make this world inclusive for all with the help of mobile technology,” Hassan said in an interview.
“From my personal experience I know that deaf people face extreme communication barriers in Pakistan and there must be a solution to it. So, we are trying to bridge this gap through this app.”