Student Spotlight: Anudi creates COLBY to Reduce Loneliness

Updated: Sep 2, 2021

The COVID-19 lockdown forced isolation on many people. Even those who thrived on social contact were forced to remain in their homes with limited or no direct contact with other people. This isolation, now prolonged for over a year, has caused mental health issues for people of all ages across the globe.

Anudi is a 14-year-old student in Colombo Sri Lanka, an island nation with 21 million people. In 2020, Sri Lanka went into forced lockdown and Anudi saw for herself the impact on people around her, including a friend who had a mental breakdown. She realized the seriousness of loneliness and was inspired to build an app to help her community.

She did research on the problem, including a survey where she gathered input from nearly 50 people of all ages around her. She found that loneliness was a serious problem, with more than 60% of the respondents saying that they felt lonely more than twice a week, well above the medical definition of the condition. She also realized that while COVID-19