My name is Lisa and I’m the co-founder of OneAnother.io. My story of how I came to found OneAnother and how 250 people came together to connect and create a solution for loneliness due to a combined longing for a sense of purpose.
I founded One Another in March 202 off the back of my personal experience of being stranded in Europe during the Spanish lockdown. Facing cancelled flights and no way to get home, I was stranded and scared with no immediate prospect of getting home to Australia. I was also incredibly worried for my 89-year-old grandmother due to the inevitable repercussions of the pandemic and the effects that isolation might have on my (then) 3-year-old son.
Despite the feeling of helplessness, I felt comfort that I was surrounded by loved ones.
Power as a collective
It was this feeling of comfort that spurred me to think about many that might be less fortunate during these times, and might feel scared, alone and helpless – with no-one to turn to when they need it the most.
As a single mum and business owner, I have been used to being fiercely independent. To find myself in a position where I had to ask for help, was unsettling for me as it was very much out of my comfort zone.
This is where the idea for OneAnother was born, to create a trusted space, where members of communities can reach out to One Another to ask for, and offer help.
I wanted to take the opportunity to recognise the volunteers, who have worked with and those who continue to work together as a collective to make our combined driving force; to encourage frequent acts of kindness and to work to create a world where no one ever needs to feel alone again.
A callout to Sydney Startup’s facebook group late one night in Spain, asking for pro bono volunteers to help build a digital space where people can offer the help they craved to give request support they so urgently needed resulted in a wave of volunteers who wanted to help in any way they could.
Overnight, 50 pro bono professionals joined the newly created ‘Project Base Camp’ facebook group – we had a foundation, we had a team! I’ve never been so humbled and inspired to create, to build and to collaborate with like minded skilled volunteers, who just wanted to help provide a solution that enables Australians to help one another.
Our entire team of UX & UI designers, front and back end web developers, marketeers, creative directors, product leads, architects, graphic designers, user researchers and public relations experts have come together and approached our vision with conviction, due diligence and proactivity, all whilst being 100% accountable for the work which we’ve each put out hands up to complete.
Our vision was fast becoming a reality! Whether offering to pick up groceries, taking a neighbour’s pet for a walk, setting up a digital profile or offering pro bono services for small businesses who had lost income streams as a result of the pandemic, One Another’s dedicated platform was able to match each call for support with local community volunteers that provided the best fit.
Fast forward three years (it’s hard to believe it’s been that long) Australia, and the world seems to be returning to some sense of normal (whatever that it) it might be easy to assume that as we will go ‘back to business as usual’ and that the need, and desire to help one another will also ease too.
I fundamentally believe that living through the reality of a global pandemic has made awareness surrounding helping others, and needing (and asking for) help is still very much at the forefront of our minds, perhaps more than ever before. I also believe that this desire to be there for others isn’t going to go away any time soon. Rather, I see communities continuing to connect and support one another to provide support, reassurance and assistance without the restrictions and reservations of doing so that may have existed before.
I believe that volunteers are fundamental in helping communities to continue to rebuild a sense of community spirit, and to ensure that no-one ever needs to feel alone.
As we draw closer to the platform re-launching, we’re focusing on encouraging as many Aussies as possible to register to OneAnother.io to be a volunteer and/ or ask for help. We want to build our tribe of Karma Squad volunteers across our nation, who want to help those around them in whichever way they are able to.
Whilst born out of a COVID-19 age, One Another has been created to provide continued support within our communities, whenever they need it. Loneliness is an existing epidemic across Australia with 1 in 2 Australians admitting to feeling alone, pre-COVID-19. A sobering statistic, which isn’t likely to go away any time soon.
Unprecedented times of isolation due to COVID-19 have highlighted how it feels to be vulnerable or helpless, which has opened up a collective consciousness that this is what everyday life is like for some people even at the best of times.
Team One Another built the platform to stand the test of time and to continue to help ‘One Another’ when times get tough, with a mission to be the trusted and reliable resource that connects volunteers with people in need within their local communities.
Finally, a very big thank you to everyone who has volunteered in the past, is volunteering right now, or plans to volunteer in the future – you are amazing.