About us.

Supporting survivors of abuse across borders.

Chayn (pronounced ch-en) means “solace” in Urdu.

Chayn is a global nonprofit, run by survivors and allies from around the world, creating resources to support the healing of survivors of gender-based violence. We create open, online resources and services for survivors of abuse that are trauma-informed, intersectional, multilingual and feminist.

We flip the design default, and put the experience of marginalised people at the heart of what we do, opening up access to our resources for all. We work across all forms of gender-based violence, especially domestic and sexual violence, and technology-facilitated abuse. We’ve reached 400,000 people across the globe, and reach more every day.

Chayn was started in 2013 by Hera Hussain (you can follow her on twitter on @herahussain). Hera was born in the UK but grew up in Pakistan. She helped two friends from the UK and Pakistan escape abusive marriages and experienced significant challenges in finding the basic information they needed, like their rights and how to cope with trauma. She thought if she could put critical information online in one place and accessible language, it could change lives.

How we work

Started initially as a volunteer-run tech for good project, Chayn has now evolved into a hybrid organisation that operates collaboratively through the power of paid staff and committed volunteers, many of whom are survivors. Lived experience is at the core of our governance model and strategy, and shapes the organisation. Most of our volunteers join because they experienced trauma first or second hand and they want to contribute to a feminist future free from violence and abuse.

We believe in radical transparency, participatory design and community-driven decision-making. Our volunteers are invited to operational and strategy meetings – including board and budget meetings – and are encouraged to give input.

We care that our work is proactively anti-racist, decolonising and equity-based.

Team & Board

Our globally distributed team is made up of full time and part-time staff,  contractors and volunteers. Our expertise ranges from mental health care to design, research and technology. Our hands-on Board of Trustees ensures we stay true to our core values and our future is guided by the vision of our community – volunteers, staff and users alike. Find details of our staff and trustees here. Our open vacancies can be found here.


We’re a trauma-informed organisation that cares not just about what we’re doing and why. The same principles apply to how we organise and treat each other within and outside of Chayn.

  • Feminist with an intersectional lens
  • Survivor-centred
  • Transparent
  • Generous
  • Inclusive

Our trauma-informed design principles approach can be found here. We’re also signed up to the Design Justice principles.


We started in 2013, and registered as a social enterprise (limited by guarantee) in the UK in 2019. We are now a registered charity. Our charity number is 1196098.

Chayn started as a volunteer-only initiative and survived on small donations and grants for the first few years of its life. Since 2018 we have grown, thanks to the generous support of our grant funders, and corporate and individual donations. We’re incredibly grateful to all our supporters, including The National Lottery Community Fund, Department of Culture, Media & Sport, Tudor Trust, Joffe Trust, Nesta and Comic Relief.

Organisational Awards

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Lovie Awards 2022

Lovie and People’s Lovie Winner in Podcasts: Gold award for Public Service & Activism, Gold award for Best Co-Hosts, Silver award for Crime & Justice

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Cog X Festival 2022

Global Goals - Good Health and Well-Being Award

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Inaugural Anthem Award 2022

Responsible Technology / Product, Innovation, or Service Categories / Innovation

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Inspiring Fifty UK 2021

Accelerate Her, Google and London Tech Week 2021

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WeWork, London 2018

WeWork Creator Awards 2018

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Microsoft 2018

Microsoft Spark Award

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Points of Light 2018

Points of Light, UK

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WIRED 2017

Semi-finalists for the Audi Innovation Awards

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Nesta 2016

Best/ New Observer's New Radicals

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Kyoorius Awards 2016

Best Direct Digital Response & Use of Social Media

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Nominet Trust 2016

Nominet Trust named Snap Counsellors as one of the top 150 social tech projects of the year

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Kyoorius 2016

SnapCounsellors campaign partnership won Two Kyoorius Creative Awards in India and the Graphite Pencil’ for D&AD Impact Award

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GOOD magazine 2015

17 Local Globalists presented by the UN Foundation

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Bloomberg 2015

Semi finalist, Bloomberg Open Technology WISE award

Awards for the founder, Hera Hussain

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Ashoka Fellowship 2022

Hera Hussain awarded Ashoka Fellowship 2022

BEM 2020

Hera awarded a BEM for services to charity in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List

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MIT Innovators under 35

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The Dots & Squarespace 2019

Hera Hussain nominated as one of the 100 creative changemakers by The Dots & Squarespace ‘Leaders with Social Heart’

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Forbes 30 Under 30 – Social Entrepreneurship

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