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Horyou Documentary Screening


“Knowledge is power. Information is liberating. Education is the premise of progress, in every society, in every family.” -Kofi Annan

ACTIONS: Recently, the Horyou team started a new initiative in the United States by visiting universities in New York and California. The first school visited was the Tisch School of The Arts at NYU, followed by Chapman University and the School of Social Work at the University of Southern California (downtown LA and Orange County). It was very rewarding to experience the understanding and enthusiasm of students regarding the importance of social networking with a purpose.

California Presentation

We had the opportunity to discuss and share different views on the use of social media in todays modern World. Questions such as: How can the creation of positive content facilitate the process of social commitment via social networking? To what extent is social networking creating a positive impact in society, locally and globally? Students were diving in! They shared their thoughts and aspirations, but they also discussed the challenges and opportunities ahead when using technology for good.

THE FUTURE: The sharing of knowledge, exchanging of ideas, conversation starting, and the promotion of social good are a fundamental part of what Horyou promotes. In the coming year, Horyou is planning to explore the world of academia by sparking innovative conversations among students and youth regarding social networking with a purpose, when applied to a cross-cultural setting in different fields of expertise.


Each presentation aims to explore this concept, while creating space for open discussions and the exchange of ideas, creativity, and much more. Horyou wants to encourage younger generations, to become involved with technology in constructive ways, while promoting and reciprocating knowledge and sharing ideas.


Horyou considers this initiative a valuable exchange. Therefore, the team will continue on a global sphere, bringing social networking with a purpose to the classroom. More news to come!

Horyou Screening California

Rolex Learning Center

Written by Matthew Martin

The Innovation Forum made its debut in EPFL, Lausanne at the Rolex Learning Centre on March 12 welcoming more than 300 participants. The forum focused on the evolution of technology and how innovation plays a powerful part in a country’s growth and development. The forum welcomed a handful of startups with stands where the participants could meet, interact and look at their innovative products. With 4 panel discussions, 2 workshops and 15+ exhibitors, IFL15 created a very dynamic atmosphere.


Written by Dearbhla Gavin

We are all familiar with the phrase “you never appreciate something until it’s gone.” So often, we get hung up on the incidentals – getting stuck in traffic, running out of hot water in the shower – things that at the time stir up huge anxiety but when compared with other trials life can throw at us, they pale in significance.

Last night I went to the screening of “Unbreakable: The Mark Pollock Story.” Pollock, a competitive rower on the cusp of graduating from university, lost his sight when he was 22. Faced with a situation in which many of us would have given in, he refused to let this misfortune derail the life he was so actively living. 10 marathons in 10 years, from the searing heat in the Sahara to the freezing wilds of Antarctica, he continued to defy both medicine and expectation.

Mark was adorned everywhere he went, and when people stood in awe at his achievements he remained meek. And if he as a blind man could break through “limits” drawn by popular opinion, every able person would thereon know they have the potential to reach even their farthest goals. When Mark set up a motivational speaking company, he astounded everyone with his ability to find opportunity in his misfortune and to use his story as an inspiration for people to reach for the best version of themselves and disregard impossibility.

Then the seemingly impossible happened and he was dealt another blow. Mark Pollock

One month before his wedding in 2010 he fell out of a three-story window and broke his back, leaving him paralyzed from the waist down.

As he lay in intensive care, slipping between reality and a dream state, he mulled on the life that lay ahead for him. Like any other spinal injury patient, he saw a life with definite limits.

Refusing to live under a veil of utopia, he opted to accept his circumstances, which he always believed to be the first step to any sort of progression. “You must let go of blame and self pity, acknowledge your situation and immediately look forward,” he said.

Mark refused to spend his life committed to a wheelchair. Refusing the status quo was the first step before science and technology caught up; and since 2010 he has been exploring the frontiers of recovery through aggressive physical therapy and robotics.

Driven partly by the statistics that in Ireland 75% of spinal injury patients never work again, in comparison with 20% in Switzerland, he decided that limits were socially constructed, and he refused to give up.

He has spent the last two years on a California program called Project Walk that aims to excite the nervous system through neuromodulation.

Counting on continued training on reconnecting the brain to the paralyzed parts of the body, Mark is hopeful that he will someday not only walk but again run.

So what does the immediate future hold for Mark? He endeavours to not only walk or run again by himself, but to remove the constructs enforced by society that losing your sight or limbs is a life sentence.

He is aware that this entails pushing altogether intellectual, geographical and organizational boundaries. Yet with help from explorers, designers and financiers, added to unrelenting interdisciplinary support and promising science breakthroughs, he is hopeful of what can be achieved.

When I left last night, I was feeling inspired and re-energized about life and the ability to lead it to the fullest. Mark is an extraordinary and yet topical example of our ethos at Horyou: Dream, Inspire, Act.

Refusing to bend under the weight of prejudice toward what he couldn’t do, he is showing that dream, support and action can turn problems into possibilities.

A truly remarkable man.

Francois Maurel

Written by Amma Aburam. Read the French version here.

Malagasy photographer François Maurel is a world-traveling photojournalist. His work and career have become a humanitarian force for aiding underprivileged populations from around the world. Maurel’s photo projects have taken him to Africa, South America, Asia and more. Horyou spoke to him about his great initiatives, from the PERLE charity association to Studio Maurel and finally the 15 years photo project that will take him across the world capturing everyday lives. Unlike most of the world, Maurel has chosen to lead a life without technology and is adamant about it.

How did you start taking photos?

I was surrounded by a photographic culture. My brother, who is 30 years my elder, was a photographer for 10 years and I think he had a direct influence on me. The big turning point for me was in 2007 when I had a stroke. I was in perfectly good health when it happened. I got out of it disoriented, wondering what I was going to do next. And then I started taking photos in the music world (concerts, events, etc.) and that’s where it all began. Today everything has taken on a new life: I’m working on a photo project called “Ombres et Lumieres” (“Shadows and Lights”) spanning on 15 years that started in India with photo reporting on the nomadic peoples there. The goal is to work on “outcasts,” the relations between the Northern and Southern hemispheres, and the effect of globalization on a grand scale.

You eventually created Studio Maurel. What was the purpose behind that?

The idea was that I wanted to live off my work as a photographer; however, that is difficult as a photojournalist. The studio work is specialized for events photography, and that allows us to finance projects and travel. It’s more of a corporate aspect of what I do. People in photography say it’s an embarrassment to work in wedding photography, for example, but it is part of the art and helps toward bigger ideas and projects. Also we bring photojournalism into the weddings we cover, which is a touch of originality. I also travel with my wife to work on the grounds, so we both rely on the support of the Studio Maurel project. Of course, if I had to choose, I would be doing photojournalism 100%.

You also do associative work through your project PERLE. What exactly is that about?

I actually created this association in 2005 before starting photography. What we do is help build a structure for associations in different places, to grant help logistically and help with microprojects. For example, we took medical materials to Benin, helped in places in Ghana, Ivory Coast and more. Today we try to generate financial support for projects for associations, such as building farms in different countries. What we also do is, when we are taking photos, we go the extra mile and help in other aspects, we find out about the people we photograph, help them where needed and more.

You have always been a photojournalist. What are some of your most fond memories of your career?

Beyond the actual photos lies an adventure – adventure in the discomfort of being in foreign places, in eliminating prejudice because photography breaks down walls, it allows the immortalisation of moments. Everything I do is often through feeling and instinct. Moments I remember the most would be one time in Brazil where we tried to work with outcasts who ended up being drug traffickers, and the police were heavily involved with them. We got mugged over there. Sometimes these are the downsides of working in these conditions. Another experience was in Madagascar, where we took a boat out to sea and ended up there for nine hours because it broke down and we were stranded. It was really a near-death experience. What’s the positive in all this? Well, we are still alive today! It’s magical – we return from such experiences and everything is just fine.

You are on Horyou, the Social Network for Social Good. What does to Dream, Act and Inspire mean to you?

These three words are simply essential to my personal convictions. You have to go to the ends of your dreams. Inspiration is the fuel of creation, and to act is materializing that creativity. Horyou grants an interesting visibility; it’s dynamic and allows you to create connections. When I arrived on Horyou, I realized one of my photographic idols, Christian Holl, was on there and I got to connect with him. That man is a legend – he goes beyond photos, and he’s a true humanitarian.

Lift Conference 2015

Written by Dearbhla Gavin

Feb. 4 — The Lift Conference is known as being one of Europe’s key gatherings for innovation and technology. Horyou team members Dearbhla, Cintia, Lucas and Vincent attended the three-day event, which was held in Geneva, Switzerland. Cintia and Vincent manned the Horyou booth, ready to engage with those in attendance.

Horyou values interacting with individuals and organizations across all disciplines, and we certainly learned a lot from the diverse crowd at the conference. There were journalists, representatives of non-profit organizations, entrepreneurs, major companies, students and other people interested in using technology for the greater good. Audience

Now in its tenth year, Lift got off to a remarkable start with “The Woman’s Touch,” its first workshop. Ha Lam, co-founder and chief executive of travel platform Triip, described the difficulties confronting her as a female entrepreneur. Growing up in Vietnam, she faced many obstacles to seeing her dreams become a reality. Two female entrepreneurs who spoke during "The Woman's Touch" Alexandra Gamarra, founder of Usetime, which measures employee productivity, also discussed her struggles as a female CEO. However, she stressed that everyone has the same amount of hours in a day, making anything possible.

In another workshop, serial entrepreneur Cornelius “Conny” Boersch spoke of an incredible positive change in statistics for startup companies: Their failure rate has plummeted from 60% to 20%. This provided a backdrop to the final event of Seedstars World, a competition among startups in emerging markets. The stage was filled with entrepreneurs from every demographic brought together by their shared beliefs and desire to act on their dreams.

The second day of the Lift Conference restored faith in the notion that the business world is willing to listen to customers and rethink corporate practices. As consumers are becoming more environmentally friendly, for example, many businesses are adapting to accommodate them. The Horyou team spoke with Altitude Marketing, which has re-engineered its business model in response to the changing social consciousness of its clients. Altitude now offers advertising and marketing solutions with a whole new philosophy of social responsibility and sustainability in mind.

This idea was echoed in a separate discussion on how even the financial world is going through a reformation in both internal regulations and external social awareness.

Lift concluded with a workshop on social development hosted by Alexandre Fasel, UN Ambassador Permanent Representative of Switzerland. Lift Conference Dearbhla explained to participants how Horyou can promote social change and be used to increase the visibility of actions around the world that are making a positive impact on society. The representatives of the various industries in attendance, as well as Mr. Fasel, were very receptive to Horyou’s commitment to social good.

Although Lift is a technology conference, its attendees are incredibly diverse. It is clear that all kinds of people are embracing a socially positive way of living as well as the technology that will facilitate its proliferation. The Horyou team left the conference enlightened about the developments in social good across all industries and reinvigorated to continue with our work.

Countless people across the world are acting on their dreams to make the world a better place, and Horyou is here to give them a voice. Vincent


Written by ToniMarie Illuzzi

At Horyou, we believe in the ability to positively change our world through a humanistic approach to technology. This ability begins with a dream to inspire others to act in such a way that will produce beneficial outcomes. Bringing voices to light on a social platform creates an opportunity for our generation to communicate their passion to do good by using a different approach.

In honor of Black History Month, it is important that we remember the words of inspirational leaders advocating the potential to end racism and discrimination. Both Harriet Tubman and Martin Luther King Jr. rebelled against the evils of racism and discrimination based on the color of their skin. Their strong voices and ability to dream of a better future inspired others to act by taking a stand against ignorance.

Harriet Tubman using the underground railroad to lead enslaved African Americans to freedom
Harriet Tubman using the underground railroad to lead enslaved African Americans to freedom

“Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.” — Harriet Tubman

Harriet Tubman was an American bondwoman who escaped from slavery in the South to become a leading abolitionist before the American Civil War. She led hundreds of enslaved African Americans to freedom along the route of the Underground Railroad, a collaboration of secret routes and safe houses heading to free territory. Her pure strength and selflessness led hundreds of slaves to freedom, which ultimately brought America one step closer to the abolishment of slavery.

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” — Martin Luther King Jr.

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