The potential of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) to create sustainable caring communities
This chapter explores the way information and communication technology can contribute to creating sustainable caring communities for the benefit of people with disabilities and mental health problems. An online platform was developed in one of the most advanced digital societies, Estonia, by a social start-up initiative, Helpific. With the support of different stakeholders, Helpific had the opportunity to experiment with the way in which an ICT-based sharing economy model can contribute to the independent life of vulnerable people in the specific socioeconomic context of Eastern-European urban areas. This chapter presents findings from a three-year pilot project conducted in four Eastern-European post-communist countries: Estonia, Ukraine, Hungary, and Croatia, which demonstrate how platforms such as Helpific can be a sustainable method of building community and enhancing social inclusion.