They say necessity is the mother of invention and this expression rings especially true for Twone Moreland. This dynamic mother of two has created an app that will change the lives of families with special needs children all over the world. ‘Kairy’ was born out of the need to help her son Kai, who suffers from a rare genetic neuromuscular disorder, and it is truly a game changer. With their app, Twone and husband Brad are not only aiming to revolutionise their family’s life, but also help make the lives of other families in similar situations more manageable. Kairy launches in July 2018 and we caught up with Twone to find out more about their project.
Where were you born?
I was born in the West Rand, Johannesburg.
What brought you to Hong Kong and how long have you lived here?
Love. When my then boyfriend (now husband) got offered a job in banking in Hong Kong I followed him. We have been in Hong Kong for 11 years.
What did you do before coming to Hong Kong?
I was in London for five years prior to moving to Hong Kong. I set up the UK branch of a health and nutritional company, importing whole food concentrates and health products from the US into the UK.
Your app Kairy is launching this month. What inspired you to create it?
Our eldest son, Kai, has a rare neuromuscular condition. With this comes a lot of other complex issues including epilepsy. When Kai first started having seizures in 2015 (the first one lasting 67 minutes) doctors would ask a lot of questions trying to figure out what ‘triggered’ his seizures. We had to start keeping a detailed journal of everything going on in his life; whether he was sick, on medication, what he ate and drank, what his mood was and so forth. This was difficult to log and journalise in one place, so my husband Brad told me to digitise it and create an app. That is how Kairy – as in ‘Kai’s diary’ – was born.
Creating an app seems like such a complex process. How did you get started and what did you learn in the process?
It is complex. I first reached out to some Facebook groups in Hong Kong, asking for recommendations for app and web developers. I got two contacts who I called to set up a meeting. They loved the idea and were keen to get involved.
This was a complete learning experience for us as we have obviously never built an app before. Everything from designing the app, creating the logo and branding, building the website, setting up a Hong Kong business, dealing with lawyers, tax and accounting, working with our creative directors and managing investors expectations was a learning curve and we continue to learn daily.
Creating an app starts off with a wireframe. I would have endless meetings for months on end chatting about every aspect I wanted this app to have and how I wanted it to work and connect to each different feature. Our app developer wrote everything down and put the wireframe together. Then his team of coders in Europe started writing the code. We also had to find investors as it is not cheap to create an app – especially one that takes two years to build!
‘We don’t want to stop here. The love and care we have for Kai has propelled us to want to share Kairy with the world.’
Fortunately we have had the most amazing group of people who got involved, supported us and worked extremely hard because they love what Kairy will bring to other families like ours, or even just to those interested in making their health a priority. We are extremely grateful to everyone who has been involved, especially our app developer Martin Randall. He has also connected us with so many industry aligned individuals like Apple Business, who will be featuring us in their business newsletter in the next few months.
I have learnt that your job as an app developer is never done as there is always room for more, for changes, for advances and for upgrades. This app will constantly keep evolving in order to become more powerful and help as many people as possible.
What is your favourite thing about Hong Kong?
I have so many! But I would have to say the safety and how diverse the city is in every possible way; from concrete jungle to beautiful green mountains. Also the variety of food and restaurants available, and the amazing people we have met along our journey.
What do you miss most about South Africa?
My family, clean air, big houses with open space and gardens and of course my mom’s cooking.
What is your favourite place in South Africa?
Definitely Cape Town.
Do you have a favourite South African expression or saying?
Probably ‘just-now’ and ‘now-now’
What advice would you give to fellow expat parents with special needs children in Hong Kong?
It’s really important that you get into the government system as early as possible. Also make sure that you have private specialists for emergency situations. Start early intervention like therapy and special schools as young as possible. Join as many Facebook support groups as possible and share your story, ask questions, keep researching and do everything in your power to keep learning about your child’s diagnosis/condition. Remember that doctors are not always correct and most importantly, trust your own instincts as moms truly do always know best when it comes to their own kids. Never stop fighting and advocating for your child’s needs no matter what. You will be surprised how kind, loving and supportive people, including strangers, can be and how much they truly do care and want to help.
Kairy is now available on Google Play and iStore. For more information and updates, check out the Kairy website and social media pages.