Serendipity in a Team

Serendipitous, the only word to encapsulate the formation of team Hanai. First, there was the me, the founder. Coming back from a four-month sabbatical in India mapping their rural healthcare landscape as well as going on the ground in Mozambique for ten days, I started looking at how to incorporate the beauty of technology into healthcare education, awareness. I worked on classes, spoke to mentors, attended courses, pushed myself. And then through Impact Hub, Berlin, signed up for a Blockchain Hackathon to look at social impact solutions.

I remember the day of the hackathon, I tried to find reasons to not go — being away from my young boys, fear that everyone would be 17, fear that I would be so out of the tech. But I got there and told myself, at the very least, will offer to make coffee for a team while I learn from them. I presented in a minute what I wanted to work on — empowering women with healthcare information and walked to the slushy machine. We were told to form teams organically.

And organically it did happen. The enigma that is Stephan Krumm walked up to me and said he was intrigued, wanted to learn, worked in healthcare policy, and being an engineer by training had the sense of structure that was needed. We formed a team that went on to win a prize at the hackathon and I sent our team mates on to China, which was part of the wins.

Now, we needed help — I called on people I could trust and admired — Patrizia Luchetta who had been my boss before and is among the best connectors I have ever known immediately worked her magic for Hanai. I looked to Sanjiv Gnaneswaran (he and I go a long way back — a fellow Malaysian, he and I had known each other from Amnesty International activism days) for his insights into risk and governance while leveraging off his growing interest to contribute towards social impact. Serendipitous.

When it comes to data management, there is no one I know better at it than Elisabeth Busch. She and I had worked together back in Germany and I have seen her turn entire company websites around. And I am talking about detailed biotechnology and medical devices. She is also is a stalwart with social impact already with her reach into refugee communities in Germany. What a blessing to work with her again. Just like working again with the man with magic at his fingertips — Vince Chu — a wordsmith and someone I had always been in awe of with his copywriting.

Our interns, where would we be without them. And funnily enough both came to Hanai via children — both Natalia Velasco and Milan von Estorff started off as au pairs and were quickly but surely immersed into Hanai and the production of our app Jiwa Ibu. Talent, grace, tenacity, ability to learn and work with limited time — things that will see these two young champions go on to lead and contribute to the world. There is also a quirky story about how these two are connected from a life before Hanai.

Agnes Kam came into Hanai by her intense campaigning for healthcare rights after the death of her mother who died 28 days postpartum. Already a community champion, Agnes continues to bring the app to a broader reach within her community near Lawas, Malaysia.

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Trying to get on a plane from Lawas to Miri with Agnes’ help.

Our co-founder Bryan Ly wrestled every bit of code into Jiwa Ibu. He is indefatigable, a magical technologist and I am grateful for his patience with the rest of us philistines as he continues to perfect the product.

Serendipity again when Deepa Shiva connected with me asking about Malaysia. She is the detailed product specialist anyone needs on a project. But hands off, she is Hanai’s co-founder and the energy behind pushing the various aspects that the company and our product needs.

It is a pleasure and honor to work alongside these team mates who have been volunteering their time, their expertise, their souls towards Jiwa Ibu — a mother’s soul.

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We empower women through healthcare inclusion, identity, information, and incentives

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