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Pear Square

Pear Square logo

Project Team Members: Shariya Kaisar, Erin Hanlon, Erin Kang, John Nyman, Robyn Fiorda

Pear Square is an online person-to-person marketplace. It connects individuals with disabilities with others who can provide essential assistance to allow them to fully participate in their daily lives at home, work, and school.

How does your project remove barriers for people with disabilities and/or aging populations?

People with disabilities sometimes requires support from others to assist them in their daily lives at home, school, or work. Sometimes others are responsible for finding these supports, such as family members or a disability office/administrator at school or work. There are many ways that people currently find assistance, but they are time-consuming, expensive, and cumbersome. Using the Pear Square platform has given the supporters and the person needing support agency in hiring and managing the required support.

Where did the idea for your project come from?

Shariya Kaisar worked as an Assistive Technology Specialist and Student Accessibility Specialist for five years at Ryerson University, and was responsible for finding ASL interpreters, computerized note-takers, personal support workers, and tutors for students with disabilities. Shariya had to provide these urgent services within a limited time frame, and soon learned that this is a difficult experience for disability services offices at the post-secondary level. The question that led to creating Pear Square was, “Why can’t there be a centralized on-demand platform where these supports can be found?”

What are the goals and objectives of your project?

The project goal is to prove there is a high demand for these services and, by creating a centralized platform, allow people with disabilities to have agency in the type of service and support they need. This also creates another shared economy, allowing more Canadians access to more jobs.

Who is the target audience for your project?

Pear Square supports organizations and secondary institutions with disability offices, family members of people with disabilities, and their health care services.

What did you and your team gain from being involved in the Accessibility Project?

The Accessibility Project provided us with financial support to build a minimum viable product, and access to the services at Sandbox by DMZ.

What are your future plans for your project?

Going forward, we would like to build an app which would allow for more ease of access and on-demand features that we are unable to build on the online platform.