Renita Siqueira is a Mass Media graduate currently working with Safecity as the Communications Officer. She handles the Safecity Blog and all the communications within the team and liaises with other organisations. Watching movies, reading books and listening to music are a part of her staple diet. Being creative, she enjoys art and craft and makes personalised gifts. She believes in being herself and making a difference one step at a time. Passionate about making the world a better, just and happier place, she pens down some of her thoughts on her blog- ren-creations.blogspot.in.
A Place Where Relationships Matter
One of the stark cultural differences between the West and the East is that the West is task-oriented in their approach to work while the East is relationship-oriented in their approach. This means that the West prioritizes the tasks to be done at work, in the company or at meetings where bonding takes a back seat whereas the East focusses on their strengthening the team spirit in their companies creating an open understanding relationship and a firm bond with their employees, colleagues and clients before getting down to business. This focus on relations primarily ensures long-term transactions that are positive in nature with a win-win situation for both parties.
‘Relationship Based Organizing is a specific model that recognizes and harnesses the power, and inherent skills and talents of individuals to create and drive the changes they determine are necessary to improve the lives of their families, friends and neighbours.’
Safecity embodies and personifies this Relationship Based Model. We come in contact daily with people from communities, corporates, schools, colleges etc. each different in their own way. We interact with humans and their emotions primarily, some of those who have been victims of abuse and harassment and have been through tough times. It is important to cultivate a culture of being sensitive to others to grow bonds of trust and understanding. It is this very bond of trust that has helped us in our work especially in the communities where we have to enter strange vicinities where people do not know us. It takes time for us to be accepted by them, for them to open up to us about their feelings and understand the need to work together to create a better life. Pooja’s is one of the most touching stories from our community. Though she seemed shy and reserved in the beginning, she proved her grit and determination by fighting against the fear of sexual harassment and all other odds to make sure she gets an education. We met Pooja in one of our first interventions. She has come a long way since then and is now inspiring other girls to follow their dream.
Not just in communities but people are first and foremost, at the heart of our organisation. It is impossible for the body to function well if the heart isn’t strong or healthy. Working with people from different avenues, ages, areas, fields and personalities does not deter us in any way or cause conflicts. We take pride in diversity and focus on creating positive relations with everyone we work with, be it our own colleagues, employees, clients, partner organisations, interns, volunteers, people from our communities or those that just drop in once in a while with their good wishes.
One of our youngest team members, Jessica Xalco, says, “Safecity is not only focusing on creating safe & open public spaces. As a workplace too, it is such a safe environment for each team member to come forward and share their thoughts & opinions.” No idea is disregarded. Everyone is treated as a human and respected equally. We relate and speak with each other as equals. What is wonderful is that there is equality among all of us and heirarchy isn’t a concern as we all respect each other. No one is treated like they’re less than.
Working with people, especially on sensitive issues like sexual harassment and violence, needs to be done with special care. When we interact with the people in our communities we help mobilise and empower them to find their strengths. Instead of leaving them dependent on us for a change we create leaders who lead the way in their own communities. Safecity has provided guidance, awareness and direction to numerous youngsters who have in turn volunteered their time, energies, effort and talents to help others to make sure the chain continues.
One such example is of a young teenage boy in Delhi. When Salini, our Programme and Outreach Officer, walked into Dakshinpuri for the first time, he whistled at her as she walked past. She walked in, none the less, and began with sexual harassment awareness workshop. We know today, that he realised what he was doing, apologised to her and is now working along with us to mobilise his community encouraging the girls to access public spaces fearlessly.
Relationships go a long way. Our strength lies in our diversity as we focus on each person. We are informal in our formalities, we respect each other’s lives, their familial ties and responsibilities, we give each other space and privacy. We learn from each other and provide a learning environment so that each one reaches their potential and even beyond. “Safecity not only practises these values on the outside and in its work but also on the inside. This is what is so special about Safecity & its Team,” Jessica says with a feeling of pride.