Jyotsna Kalra is Safecity’s Head Volunteer in Delhi who has actively designed campaigns and activities with our volunteers and youth bodies for safe public spaces in the capital city. She represented Safecity at the Telenor Youth Summit held in Oslo in Decemeber 2014.
My tryst with Oslo!
It took me a while to write about my experience at Oslo where the Telenor Youth Summit was held, maybe because all of it happened so fast that I did not get the time to articulate it. Now when I think of it, I feel I just got lucky. But then I remember a friend of mine who corrected me and said- “With great hard work comes great luck.”
I would begin by telling how I applied for the Telenor Youth Summit. I still remember telling Elsa, Managing Director & Co-Founder- Safecity, that I am not sure about this competition as the Summit was in December’14 and I would be having my University exams then. At that time, I somewhere knew at the back of my mind that if I did get selected, I am definitely going to skip my final exams (because I never wanted to miss an opportunity like this) and this is exactly what happened! Nevertheless, I am glad I chose to go for it for what an experience it was.
Uninor launched the Internet for All Challenge last year (2014) for the youth in the age group of 18-25 years to present their innovations and ideas to make society a better place using the internet and digital technology, I was one of the finalists at this challenge. This competition took me to the Telenor Youth Summit held at Oslo in December 2014 where I represented India and Safecity.
My presentation was on Safecity’s mobile application, called “Safecity – Stay Safe Mobile App,” addressing the issue of harassment and abuse- verbal and physical, women face in public places. People these days are so used to harassment like ogling, taunts and catcalls that they choose to ignore it and go through the trauma alone rather than raise their voice against it. We need to break our silence and document every instance of harassment and abuse in public spaces so that we can find the most effective solutions, this app brings us a step closer in addressing this issue.
Be it in on the roads, malls, public transport and in other public spaces, I have been harassed in one form or the other; this is my motivation to support the idea of a necessary mobile app that can address this. This app will allow them to report personal experiences of harassment in public spaces and also see the larger trend of location-based harassment as pins on the map among its other features which will be revealed upon its launch.
Telenor Youth Summit 2014 at Oslo gave me an immensely valuable learning experience and opportunity for growth. It gave me the chance to present this idea on a global platform and to meet a lot of people from diverse backgrounds, understand their perspectives on social issues and their perceptions of India especially in the wake of the spate of crime against women in the recent years.
During the Summit, I got the chance of meeting 26 other participants from different countries and diverse cultures, it gave me the opportunity to understand different social issues in different parts of the world. It made me more alert and sensitive toward issues I never paid attention to earlier.
While the exposure at the Telenor Youth Summit 2014 was tremendous, attending the Nobel Peace ceremony was overwhelming and extra special as we had the Noble Peace Prize being awarded to an Indian. It was inspirational to hear laureates Kailash Satyarthi’s and Malala Yusufzai’s Nobel Lecture. It was definitely once in a lifetime opportunity. After the ceremony, we also had an exclusive preview of the exhibition at the Nobel Peace Center where I got a better understanding of the struggle and work done by both the laureates in their quest to free the world of child labour and provide better education to girls globally.
I want to thank Safecity, which has given me amazing experiences and is helping me grow as an individual with every passing day. I want to thank Niharika for launching Safecity’s Delhi Chapter and sharing the details about this competition with me. Elsa, thanks to you for being a mentor and a supporter always. I still remember you telling me just go for it and apply, I cannot thank you enough.