top of page

“RAO” - A Safe Space for All

A virtual and physical community co-created with young people and for young people to meet friends, to heal and to grow in a safe and empowering environment


Research and Insight | Creative Design | Visual Identity | Graphic Design |  Service Innovation | Website and UX/UI |

Website Development | User Testing | Content Production | Influencer Marketing | Press and Event Management


The Thai Health Promotion Foundation has long been a major donor organisation supporting social movements, grassroots groups and civil society organisations to drive a healthier Thailand. Over the past two decades, it has spearheaded over 2,000 programs and social innovations tackling critical challenges ranging from tobacco use and alcohol consumption, road safety and disaster management, to emerging mental health concerns like the rapidly growing threat of online harassment and abuse among children and youth.


According to UN Women, in 2021, 88% of women in Asia and the Pacific experienced online violence, with adolescent girls and those from vulnerable backgrounds being affected disproportionately. In Thailand, recent studies commissioned by the Thai government and think tanks have highlighted an increasing complexity and sophistication in online sexual harassment, which can quickly spill over into the real world or escalate to more severe crimes like cyberstalking, hacking and identity theft and blackmailing.


These traumatic experiences can profoundly impact a person’s mental and physical well-being, both during and long after the incidents are resolved, intruding on everyday activity and relationships and even holding back the ability to reach one’s full potential and contribute meaningfully to the country's social and economic development.


Adopting a user-centric approach, we engaged with over 270 female students from 18 universities - a demographic most vulnerable to gender-based violence and mental health issues - from discovery through to design and testing - to understand deeply their experiences of trauma and find answers to three crucial questions: 

  • What specific forms and types of support do these young women need?

  • Is the current support system adequately meeting their needs?

  • How can empowerment be reimagined in the post-COVID world to best serve this demographic, the digital natives, who are the first generation to grow up with the internet, social media and smartphones as an integral part of daily life?


Through a series of observations, individual and group interviews and surveys, we unearthed four pivotal insights that would guide our development of “RAO.ASIA”:

  • Sexual harassment in virtual spaces (58%) now ranks second, following incidents in public spaces (75%). These traumatic encounters have enduring effects on all participants, influencing aspects such as self-esteem, ability to trust others (including boyfriend or family), everyday activity, school and work.

  • Oversharing online is a natural instinct for this generation, who treats social media as their own private world. This false sense of security, unfortunately, puts many at risk of different kinds of online harassment and abuse.

  • What digital natives who have faced traumatic experiences want most is a 24/7 online community, a space where they can connect with others who have been through similar situations, share their journey, and find support - all without revealing their identities.

  • State services are not their first choice for help, with only 20% utilizing them; instead, 87% turn to friends or family for support. However, recognizing that friends and family may not always be available when past traumas resurface, they seek an online community - a safe space for understanding and support whenever needed.

Chart 2 Have you experienced sexual harassment in virtual spaces (3).png


A social media alternative, “RAO.ASIA” was designed as a safety-first virtual and physical community for young people to meet friends, to heal and to grow in a safe and empowering environment. It combined cutting-edge technology with a team of back-end staff, which included trained human moderators and gender and mental health experts, working round the clock to ensure a positive and safe user experience.

Every aspect of the prototype, consisting of five main elements, from technical specifications and features to the platform's overall look and feel, was informed by user feedback and input throughout the development and design process.

Online Community with built-in safety features such as pre-approval, content filtering and anonymity, utilizing both technology and human moderation to create a 24/7 safe space for connecting with others who understand.

  • Trained back-end team, under the supervision of gender and mental health experts, to manually review, screen and approve user-generated content as well as to assist users by providing information and, if necessary, referrals to appropriate local support service

Participants who have experienced sexual harassment in public spaces (7).png
  • Mobile-first, social media-inspired design with interactive elements to send love and appreciation, catering to the IG/TikTok generation

  • Integration of Line web chat functionality, to stay connected and engaged with 'RAO.ASIA' even when not logged in

Everyday Tips Simple activities to do at home, solo or with loved ones, to re-establish a sense of safety and calm or bring the focus back to the present moment when re-experiencing traumatic memories

Activities with Friends Users’ favourite tips transformed into fun and empowering group activities, ranging from sports, arts, beauty and fashion to mindfulness, through collaboration with experts and influencers - providing users with the opportunity to meet in real life, learn new skills and connect with others who share similar interests

Participants who have experienced sexual harassment in public spaces (6).png

​​Experiences Real-life stories from experts, celebrities, influencers and fellow users about their journey through trauma and recovery

Help Info List of service providers that offer free legal, social and psychological assistance

Participants who have experienced sexual harassment in public spaces (3).png

Website design walkthrough


The one-month beta test with a select group of 150 female university students validated our assumptions. Nearly 80% of users’ time was spent engaging with one another through the 'Online Community' and 'Activities with Friends' features - revealing a genuine desire to have a peer support community at their fingertips. The instant bond and trust formed through shared experiences enabled them not only to seek help when they needed it but also to pay it forward by supporting others who are going through what they have through exchanging comforting words, encouragement as well as the wisdom and insights gained from their own experiences.

User feedback from the beta test



Leveraging these valuable insights, we are scaling up ‘RAO,’ into a full-fledged platform for healing with front- and back-end staffing and partnerships with various different social good groups and organisations to design a range of activities that will be directed by expert guidance and tailored to user preferences gathered through a survey we conducted during the beta test.


“RAO.Asia” was launched for public beta testing during the "16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence” and is set to roll out full services to the public in 2024.

RAO launch event highlights

Media Coverage

bottom of page