Describing itself as the “#1 social media platform specialised in volunteering”, Bevol brings together volunteers, including Syrian refugees, with corporations and institutions around the world. TRT World talks to co-founder Hasan al Heraki.
Asked to describe Bevol in a few sentences, co-founder Hasan al Heraki says it is “an international social media platform specialised in volunteering and community work,” adding that “our multi sided platform increases volunteers’ recognition and exposure to volunteering opportunities and provides authentic volunteer profiles for organisations and institutions asking for volunteers.” He adds: “Finally, Bevol provides profitable companies with a creative way to do their social responsibility.”
Heraki tells TRT World that “for the past two years, our team of Syrian entrepreneurs in Turkey has been working on building Bevol; a ‘social media platform for volunteers’.”
The company has recently won the prestigious Golden Stevie Award in the “Tech Startup of the Year” category. The crew behind Bevol consists of “people from community services and volunteer work to business and technical backgrounds.”
The reason Bevol was set up, Heraki says, “is to create a new vision of volunteering through innovation and creativity.” With thousands of users, “we aim to be the social media platform that connects all volunteers in the world and enables them to consolidate noble humanitarian values and achieve peace and development in all societies.”
Heraki points out that “the numbers of volunteers and organisations registering on Bevol are increasing continuously; until this moment Bevol has more than 45 thousand registered volunteers from over 175 countries worldwide.”
“Bevol also supports volunteering through training,” he says. There was a “four-day social entrepreneurship training camp that was attended by hundreds of young innovators and social entrepreneurs who can launch their voluntary initiatives through the platform and mobilise more volunteers who wish to provide support services to civil society organisations,” he explains, giving an example.
The platform “provides [young innovators and social entrepreneurs] with the needed technology to manage the initiative in terms of gathering the largest number of volunteers, announcing their news, and increasing awareness.”
Bevol is a startup based in Turkey, but registered in the US. “Our core team members working on creating this platform are Syrian residents in Turkey. However, due to different reasons Bevol is legally registered in the US as a Delaware startup,” Heraki tells TRT World.
The fact that Bevol is a startup with Syrian core team members is not surprising given that a 2018 report by the Economic Policy Research Foundation of Turkey “shows that Syrian entrepreneurs provide a living for 7 percent of the 3.5 million Syrians in Turkey. Over the course of eight years, Syrians in Turkey established more than 10,000 companies where an average of 7 people are employed and of whom 60 percent are Syrians.”
Bevol has already started making a difference in people’s lives. An example Heraki gives of a volunteer project is “a group of young female students, some of [whom] are refugees, gathered themselves online on the Bevol platform and applied to volunteer with a Turkish organisation in teaching English to Turkish orphans.”