Safecity Monthly Updates – July 2020

Vital Voices: 100 Women Using their Power to Empower!


We’re thrilled to announce that Vital Voices has included ElsaMarie D’Silva (Founder/CEO, Safecity – Red Dot Foundation) in their upcoming book – Vital Voices: 100 Women Using their Power to Empower! coming this September, this unprecedented book is a companion to Vital Voices’ art exhibition celebrating 100 global women leaders and while each woman is path-breaking in her own right, it’s together that our 100 voices illustrate the transformative power of women’s leadership across cultures, sectors and generations. 

The book is published by Assouline and edited by VV President and CEO Alyse Nelson, with a foreword by National Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman and paintings by Gayle Kabaker. It features portraits accompanied by excerpts from first-person narratives from some of the most influential and insightful women in the world, including: Jacinda Ardern, Joy Buolamwini, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Bozoma Saint John, Malala Yousafzai, and many more. We’re excited to see Elsa being included amongst these incredible women.

Donate to Vital Voices today, and you’ll receive your own copy as a thank you! Book launch is in September 2020. 

Link: Donate to Vital Voices 




SafeCircle is a safe space for the survivors of violence where they can find a community of  support, share strategies, voice their experiences and learn different ways to deal with violence and build confidence to reach out for help. 

We are 12 weeks old and the circle is growing every week with new members joining and accessing the safe space for personal healing and growth. Supreet, our Director and a certified counsellor, facilitates and leads the SafeCircle sessions combining her certification in yoga and meditation, to create a safe and comfortable space for all. From the onset, the sessions have helped strengthen the defences of each member to better cope with the circumstances they are going through and for the group, it has created solidarity.

Sexual & Domestic (intimate partner) violence is now being called a shadow pandemic. During COVID19, the cases of such violence are on the rise and it is difficult for women and girls to report these acts, speak up, find help and also access resources. We have started a weekly session called SafeCircle every Friday at 3 – 5 pm IST. It is a secure, trusting space for survivors of violence where they can share experiences and be heard without judgement.

SafeCircle was featured in a spanish article named EL PAIS.
If you would like to donate please visit here.


Cyber Saathi 

In collaboration with the Supreme Court Advocate, N.S. Nappinai, we have been conducting Cyber Saathi sessions for individuals online to highlight the gendered nature of cyber-crimes and to present its various legal proceedings in an accessible way. In July, we have reached out to 1100+ individuals and have helped to provide awareness on the kinds of cyber harassment women in particular could be exposed to and the legal recourse that is available. We are currently in the process of organizing these workshops for grades 7-12 as this demographic is more prone to online harassment, especially during the current lockdown situation where schools and colleges have moved to the virtual space.



Knowledge  Cafe 

In July, we at Red Dot Foundation have been organizing Knowledge Cafes on a number of  interesting topics through the framework of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Our guests included representatives from a diverse range of organisations who are working on issues like gender, sexuality, mental health and human trafficking to highlight the importance of integrating multiple perspectives and enacting the SDGs across various sectors. They included activist Shafiq ur Rahman Khan, Ramya Anand and Vani Viswanathan from Tarshi, Jagruti Wandrekar from SAAHAS, a mental health support group for LGBTQIA+ individuals and Ipsa James, a queer affirmative psychotherapist. We received a lot of positive feedback from the 110+ individuals attended. They said that these sessions made them more aware of the intersections between sexuality, gender and mental health and helped them question certain aspects of their own behavior.

Click here to register for August’s Knowledge Cafe sessions!



Feminism in Reel Life 

This month’s Feminism in Reel Life had varied themes – LGBTQIA+, Mental Health, Human Trafficking and Disability & Sexuality respectively. Each week the discussions focused on different aspects of the theme creating a learning benefit

The session on 1st July was based on the theme LGBTQIA+ and the topic – Gender and Sexuality in Advertising. It was moderated by Harish Iyer. The session on 8th July, based on the theme LGBTQIA+ and the movie – Devotion project by filmmaker Antony Osso’s was moderated by our team. For the session on 15th July, we discussed the movie, Inside Out based on the theme of Mental health which was moderated by Ipsa James, a Dalit and Queer Affirmative Psychotherapist who applied her unique perspective in deconstructing the emotions showcased in the movie. For the fourth session on 22nd July, we discussed a documentary called Breaking chains – Bonded labour in brick kilns based on the theme Human Trafficking which was moderated by Ganga Sekhar, a lawyer and labour rights activist. For our last session on 29th July, we did a movie review of Shonali Bose’s Margarita With A Straw based on the theme Disability and Sexuality. 

Use this to enroll for our sessions in August- Feminism in Reel Life 


Alumni Engagement

We have created the Alumni Engagement program, to encourage the  youth to come together and be active proponents of social change. If you have been involved with Red Dot Foundation for more than 3 months, as an intern, volunteer, campus ambassador or through any project, we invite you to enroll into this program so you can build your networks and contribute to your community.

Use this link to enroll – Youth Alumni Project 



Building Inclusive Cities 

ElsaMarie DSilva, Founder Red Dot Foundation Global and Prathima Manohar, Founder – The Urban Vision both alumni of Leadership Network for Change at Stanford Centre for Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law, have partnered on an online series that discusses urban challenges around COVID-19.

In this series, Politicians, Architects, Economists, Policymakers, Police, Development Professionals, and Advocates to discuss several issues including designing public, heritage, conservation, human rights, transparency, policing, governance, and accountability, new forms of social currency to address social change, city-level responses to pandemic measures and more.

This month we reflected on the fundamentals of India’s urbanization model. We talked about public health and education in the time of pandemic by looking at the socio-economic and political impact of Covid-19 crisis.

Find new episodes every Wednesday at 6:00 pm IST / 08:30 am EST on YouTube.  


Urban Thinkers Campus 

Red Dot Foundation in conjunction with UN-Habitat organised Urban Thinkers Campus Series 2, Reimagining Public Spaces with the objectives of understanding the challenges of a post COVID19 scenario in urban spaces, identifying solutions for safe and inclusive public spaces and identifying and highlighting good practices on safe and inclusive public spaces.

The Urban Thinkers Campus (UTC) model is an initiative of the UN-Habitat World Urban Campaign, conceived as an open space for critical exchange between all stakeholders and partners aimed to promote sustainable urbanization. More than 150 participants joined us on 7th July, 6:00 pm IST (2:30 PM CET) via zoom call which was also broadcasted live on facebook.

There were five speakers from each partner organisation who kicked off the session with their ideas. The first speaker, Hitesh Vaidya, Director of National Institute for Urban Affairs, India emphasised on what policy changes are required in the new COVID-19 scenario for the public spaces. The second speaker was Carme Gaul, Director of Catalan Agency for Development and Cooperation, Spain, who discussed the role of the local community and stakeholders in the decisions for public spaces. The third speaker was Oman Sreeni-Ong, Founder and MD of Engender Consultancy, Malaysia, who discussed the importance of civil society and the private sector in reimagining public spaces. The fourth speaker was Prathima Manohar, Founder of The Urban Vision, who explained the planner’s or architect’s role in reimaging highly dense cities. The fifth speaker was Supriya Jaan, Program Manager at Right to Pee, Coro India, who raised the concern of facilities for citizens of highly dense cities.

This was followed by breakout sessions where our facilitators discussed attendees ideas on the same topic after which a Q&A session was conducted to discuss the questions and ideas of participants. 



Sunday Reflections 

Sunday Reflections – Through these livecasts ElsaMarie DSilva explores the personal and professional journeys of people making a difference in the world. Helping to unpack the facets of resilience in leadership and the ability to innovate and go beyond the normal in times of crisis are some of the areas of exploration. Conversations have included journalists, activists and social entrepreneurs. Join us every Sunday at 5 pm IST / 0730 am EDT

On 5th July, the guest was Sailesh Mishra ( Founder of Silver Innings) who emphasized the presence of old age – friendly infrastructure and restructuring cities to make everything accessible for them and highlighted the role that government, public and especially corporates through their Corporate Social Responsibility provision can play in helping the aged facing difficulties by being vulnerable to the virus, losing access to regular check-ups, medicine and in many cases, even ration. On 12th July, with Rajashri Sai (Founder of ImpactTree) as the guest, there was discussion on COVID relief measures through volunteers and crowdfunding and the lack of recognition for NGOs’ work by the government and the need for inter-NGO collaborations to boost overall power and capacity. On 19th July, Elaine Pratley, (Rotary Peace Fellow and Peace Builder from Australia) talked about intercultural understanding and the need for more peacebuilders and how  parenting is a wonderful way to learn with the  pandemic  and climate change binding  us together by giving us opportunities to change our ways. On 26th July, Pearl Tiwari (President, CSR and Sustainability at Ambuja Cements Ltd) elaborated upon the power of network in bringing people together from different walks of life, thus facilitating exposure to innovation and new experiences.

Join us every Sunday at 5 pm IST / 0730 am EDT



Bal Suraksha- Rise Up 

As the pandemic has not made it easy for us to go to the schools and continue the work we were doing to make schools safer for children in Satara, Red Dot Foundation started online sessions for all the schools we are working with in Satara as part of the Bal Suraksha Project.

Innovative and interactive sessions were included to involve and facilitate the children, parents and teachers who had very little knowledge on using online platforms. Also to overcome the challenge of not possessing a smart phone the sessions were conducted using a combination of Google hangouts and conference calls. The objective was also to ensure the children find it engaging and knowledgeable. Some of the sessions were introduction & motivation, physical and mental health in Covid-19, trusting people/safe unsafe touch, knowledge on private body parts,  story telling, communication skills, reuse of old things, speech preparation, writing skills, time management, group work, importance of agriculture, importance of Nag Panchami and Guru Poornima and on the pros & cons of watching television. 

A total of 12 online sessions predominantly in Marathi and Hindi (suitable to the demographic) were conducted to engage with the children and school authorities. Through these sessions the outreach touched 156 people. The parents and teachers have found these sessions very useful as it not only builds knowledge and skill but also creates a sense of belonging and community spirit. 



Panel Discussion on Gendered Emotions 

“What’s emotion got to do with it?” was a panel discussion moderated by Elsa Marie D’Silva on, 28th July 2020. Main objective of the discussion was to explore the idea of Gendered Emotions. There were four panellists, Soraya Chemaly, an author of the book called “Rage Becomes Her”, Anita Nowak, an empathy expert and faculty member at Mc-Gill University, Sonali Gupta, a psychologist and author of a book on Anxiety and lastly Janine Evans Pollard, a career & life coach and blogger. 

Every panellist was asked the same question – if they think there is a bias to the emotions and if they can share some examples. There were many interesting ideas that were raised during the discussion wherein how one emotion ‘rage’ is perceived differently by society if showcased by different genders. It is very important to detach anger from femininity and let people feel their emotions fully without restricting them to certain ideas or false notions. Panellists also discussed the idea on whether: women worry more than men, difficulties people face in embracing fear, ways to channelize or manage rage, managing anxiety and lastly how leaders can empathize. On the whole, the discussion was very enlightening about biases generated by the society around us labelling emotions fit for one and unfit for another gender.
Watch this full discussion here



Emerging Leader


Nancy Antil is a final year Psychology Student at MKJK College, Rohtak & a Social Media intern at Safecity. She’s a happy go lucky person who loves travelling from one place to another and exploring new things. Her beautiful journey with Safecity began in March and since then she has increased her knowledge on using social media platforms and  has a better clarity on her myths about a few issues. Through Safecity’s events, webniars & tweetchats, she gained knowledge about issues related to sexual abuse, street harassment and gender equality which empowered & broadened her thinking and beliefs about such social issues. Participating in tweetchat posts, working on them and reading answers to every question were some of the areas that interested and inspired her. She is keen to work on such a platform where she sees people coming forward and sharing their views, issues, problems and encouraging others to step forward. This further encourages and boosts her to do good and stand for what’s right. She is able to manage this work with her college deadlines due to such encouraging and compassionate team members. Interning for this platform has never felt exhausting and after being with Safecity for all this time, she can only say that it has come to feel like home 

She will always look forward to doing more to strive for a safer space, learn new things, continue to work hard and contribute even more.

To read more, click here 

Here are two articles that ElsaMarie DSilva wrote. Do check them out! 



Our Global Newsletter

Do subscribe to the Red Dot Foundation Global newsletter if you would like specific news featuring our work across the globe.

Click here to read. Do subscribe if interested.

That’s all for this month. Keep watching this space and we’ll keep you updated on all our work and exciting activities every month!


What’s in store for Safecity in August?

  • Knowledge Cafe; every Tuesday at 5:00 pm. Sign up here
  • Feminism in Reel Life; every Wednesday at 4:00 pm. Sign up here.
  • Join us in SafeCircle, a Safe-Space for Survivors of Domestic Abuse, every Friday at 3pm.
  • Our Youth Ambassadors from Pune and Satara are actively involved with us through our digital initiatives.
  • Every Friday at 9 pm IST/ 11.30 am EST join us on Twitter @pinthecreep

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