Emerging Leader: Kajal Antil
Safecity is celebrating the journey of people who have emerged as leaders as our campaigns progressed in their communities through our blog series “Safecity Emerging Leaders”. Read the inspiring stories of these individuals who are passionate about making their neighbourhoods safer with Safecity and have taken action in their own special ways.
Emerging Leaders- Kajal Antil
“ To handle yourself, use your Head
To handle others, use your Heart.”
I can’t help but recall this from a friend’s speech and it is these lines that motivate me to work from the ground level up. I am Kajal Antil, currently a studying Geography in Shaheed Bhagat Singh College, University of Delhi, an intern at Safecity intern and also a member of International Coordination and Development Programme. Perseverance and efforts in the right direction are the key factors in making anything successful. I like to travel and explores places along with knowing about the communities living in that area. Knowing places and most importantly the people and their problems changed who I am today from who I was a year ago.
I came across Safecity through one of my friends who was volunteering with Safecity at that time. Initially, I used to be very ignorant about issues related to gender and sexual violence issues as I had never faced it personally or came across any problem. It seemed like an ideal world- maybe because I was shielded by my parents or I didn’t want to see the wrongs in the world. But the truth can’t be hidden for too long. In my last year of graduation year, I was finally out of that bubble of protection and had to manage everything all alone in a strange city-Delhi and then started my actual life where I had to face the realities of the world. There began many incidents of harassment on the road, in the metro, in college and everywhere I went and I had no one to share them with. That is when I thought of my friend and Safecity. All these things made me think of the women living around me and their safety. So I decided to join Safecity in June, 2018 and started working with the aim of creating safer public spaces.
I have been associated with Safecity for almost a year. I am more involved with on-ground activities in Delhi where we have to create awareness on what sexual harassment is and help survivors to break their silence around it in order to fight back against the evils in our society. We conduct audits, workshops, heritage walks, and various other activities. The whole team is involved right from brainstorming ideas to carrying out the activities.
In November 2018, Carmen Meyer, a Deutsche Welle TV journalist came to Delhi to film stories of survivors of sexual harassment for her venture- Breaking Silence, Ending Violence. They collaborated with Safecity, so the team invited few survivors to share their story. Each story inspired us in one or the other way giving us immense strength and hope to fight against violence and to fight for the change.
As a part of the #SPEAK campaign by CIVICUS in December, we organised “Kahaniya-Stories of our Gender” a safe space for youth to listen to and share stories of struggles, healing, hope and courage fighting gender based violence and biases.
Being involved and sometimes conducting such events individually has helped me grow. It helped me develop professional skills to meet the demands of the role and has also given me a chance to know people. It can increased my ability to adapt to different cultural demands and behavioural expectations to handle sensitive situations. Eventually, it helped me make a positive contribution to the growth and development of society in my own way.
I would like to end by saying that working on such issues is not easy but when united efforts are made ‘together everybody achieves more’. We need to be strong like a tree trunk and at the same time we must be like grass, facing extremes by adapting to situations.