About Horizontal


Technology is not justice,
technology is not equity,
technology will not save us.
Technology can help us do our work in a more secure, inclusive, and hopefully egalitarian way.

Ken Montenegro
our story

20 years ago,

the internet was supposed to be a liberatory tool, one that would necessarily lead to more open and more just societies. But while the internet has connected us, amplified the voices of the most vulnerable, and helped build movements, it has also become a tool to survey, monitor, and repress. Horizontal was founded on the idea that it does not have to be this way–that technology can be empowering and freeing without threatening our basic rights to express ourselves, to document and share events around us, to organize and communicate freely and privately.

Horizontal works with human rights defenders and frontline activists in highly repressive environments–in places where dissent is a crime, where basic freedoms are routinely trampled on. But developing technology that is genuinely empowering is about more than tech, it's about who develops and how.

Our name “Horizontal” refers to our attempt to flatten the hierarchy, and blur the lines, between technologists and users. We develop with, not for at-risk users. And many Horizontal team members are themselves activists, actively taking part in defending rights and freedoms in our own communities.

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our values


We strive for collective decision-making and collaboration rather than hierarchy and competition— both in our internal processes and in our work with our partners.


We engage directly with the communities we seek to serve, actively listen to their wants and needs, and work collaboratively with them to address those needs.


We work to ensure that every facet of our work positively impacts our world. We think critically and intentionally about our social and environmental footprint, in both program design and internal operations.


We believe that sharing and collaboration are most effective to fulfill our mission. We support, advocate for, and develop tools and material that are open-source and free to reuse, modify and publish.


meet our team



operations lead



software engineer

Yann Chwen

Yann Chwen




software engineer



software engineer



programs lead


Tara (she/her)

Operations Lead
Anti-colonialist and climate change obsessed Mama

When not consumed by her child, Tara is usually found critiquing the news and feeling burnt out by racism, colonialist thinking, global consumption, climate change and the future of our planet. Despite all this, she remains an overly smiley person, and likes to make people laugh with cynical and ironic jokes.

social movementBLM, Free Palestine, climate change/zero waste

Đorđe (he/him)

Software Engineer
Wannabe artist in engineer's clothing

An IT professional with experience in system administration and software development. His interests also include cybersecurity. As a teenager, he fought on the streets for a freer society and now he is pursuing that same struggle through his work. Deeply cares about the environment and worries about what kind of planet we will leave for future generations. He likes to relax by cycling, motorbiking or hiking.

social movementEnvironmentalism, social justice, racial justice

Yann Chwen (they/them)

Anti-capitalist who loves playing Monopoly

Yann Chwen came to UI/UX design by accident and is glad to get to support on-the-ground activists through tech. When they’re not squinting at Figma, they can often be found pandemic-stress-cooking and rolling around on the floor in “happy baby."

mapper Malaysia
social movementRacial justice, queer liberation, zero waste

Juan (he/him)

Software Engineer
Knows too much about Star Wars

Juan is a developer from Buenos Aires, Argentina with 5+ years of experience trying to make his work be meaningful for people. On the other end of his life, he likes to play the bass or go to see bands he doesn't know with friends.

mapperBuenos Aires, Argentina
social movementSocial justice, institutional violence

Ahlem (she/her)

Software Engineer
Her brain has too many tabs open

Ahlem is an IT enthusiast who loves digging through manuals in order to build or fix things. She has several years of experience as a developer and engineer in the mobile field and is always eager to learn new things. She joined Horizontal to make a difference through technology. She's a real dreamer as her name states. She also loves sarcasm and good humour. Her main objective is to make an impact and involve women in tech as much as possible.

social movementFeminism, Palestinian liberation

Raph (he/him)

Programs Lead & Operations Lead
Always down for a chess game or a dance party

Raph likes to make stuff, experiment, and occasionally write. He’s always thinking about systems that are community-owned and controlled, and sometimes he tries to build them. He also spends a little too much time critiquing the UX of billion-dollar products.

mapper Los Angeles, United States
social movementCommunity alternatives to policing, free software, workplace democracy