Know Our Team is a series that attempts to bring to you the stories of our team, share our experiences, why we do what we do and special moments that have left an indelible mark in each of our lives.
Salini Sharma is the Safecity’s Manager for Program & Outreach in Delhi and is working actively with communities in making our spaces safer and equitable. She is passionate about engaging systems and institutions in bringing sustainable change and works closely with like-minded organizations and compassionate individuals in making this change a reality. She manages the various programs across Delhi and Mumbai and has also worked on National and International Projects to make our spaces safer and inclusive. She is a qualified professional trained under United Nation’s Development Program for Women and also holds a diploma in International Human Rights. From being an engineer to a changemaker, her journey has been about bringing people together in realizing the change we all want to see.
Know Our Team: Touching Lives & Reaching Milestones
When I realized that to truly change things around me, I will have to be on the path to change and nowhere else, just about then Safecity happened to me.
I’ve never considered myself a writer but then I’ve always found the words to express myself. This is one of those moments when I sit back and type the words that I’ve strongly felt and continue to feel as I celebrate my 2 years with Safecity. I chose 7th October for it’s my best friend, Tanvi’s birthday, also my best half and soulmate. She is the constant that made all the difference in my life and one of the biggest supporters of Safecity. I’ve been with Safecity for over 3 years now but when Elsa invited me on board in 2014 to officially be a part of Safecity, I knew just by that conversation that she and I have a journey to share and here we are.
When I joined in 2014, I was the only team member here in Delhi and while I’ve been asked a beautiful million times, “How did you know what to do? How did you get started? Why did you want this and not something else?”, I never had a doubt about what I wanted to do. From endless meetings to travelling all over the city, from multiple emails to countless times of brainstorming with my friends in coffee shops, our first campaign happened to us in Lal Kuan in 2014. Since then we’ve worked in Lal Kuan, Dwarka, Uttam Nagar, North Campus, Paharganj, Sanjay Camp, Dakshinpuri and Bhalaswa among many other cities and villages we travelled to for our programs. I believe we stirred an unstoppable movement, at least one where we won’t settle for anything lesser than what we started out to achieve.
As I look over my journey in the development sector, I can’t help but state that we’ve lived in the years of grave oppression. People have suffered and struggled, they’ve cried and they’ve yearned, and we’ve tried very, very hard to create a world where everyone could be equal. While a lot has changed around the world we are still at it and I still don’t see reasons why we shouldn’t be.
Safecity went to Canada, Nepal and Kenya and even there I knew that our friends and we were giving all that we could to make the spaces that surround us safer. Even when lands and oceans separated us our issues were haunting in their similarities!
Were we really asking for a lot when we set out for change? When I graduated with a gold medal in biotechnology, little did I know that it was not the research labs I would be spending most of my time in. Today when I look back at my 4 years of working I see the best of people I’ve met through this. I see all the relationships we formed in the communities, I see all those smiles that greeted me even on the hottest summer days, I see hot tea waiting for me on those foggy winter days, I hear those stories that were once told and the tears we poured over them, I hear the silences we struggled through, I see the doors that opened up for our lives to change, I see those young ones going back to school again, I see those girls stepping up against child marriage, I see the waiting we endured for families to condemn violence, and I see a lot of HOPE. I’ve always believed that when something isn’t right around us, we need to step up and step in and whenever you receive love and support from the people you work with, double it up and give it back, for love is the only thing in this world that can make us change, that can heal us.
Safecity changed my life and I knew it all along that it would. What makes this journey even more worth it is knowing it changed so many other lives too. It’s on this journey that my heart broke a billion times but every time it did, just as many reasons healed it. My two years wouldn’t be what they are without Elsa’s love, support, trust and encouragement. It wouldn’t be the same without Ashwini’s brilliant smiles and the energy she shared with me. It wouldn’t be the same without Supreet shining upon me and giving me the warmest hugs. It wouldn’t be the same without all the amazing people I have worked with, in the communities who cared for me like family and it wouldn’t be the same without my team who give their best to all that we do!
We have a long way to go and even two years later, I have all the energy it will take. Safecity is that very hope I see a lot! Thank you, everyone, for making me who I am today. With all my modesty put aside, I can go on to say I am a much better human being today than I ever thought I could be. Come support us at Safecity, we all have a lot to do!