There has been a tremendous rise in the cases of violence during COVID-19 and it is difficult for women and girls to report these acts, speak up, find help, and also access resources. With SafeCircle sessions facilitated by Supreet K Singh, a certified counselor and Yoga Acharya, survivors of violence have a safe space to find a community of support, share strategies, voice their experiences and learn different ways to deal with violence and also boost their confidence to reach out for help. Over the past four months we have supported over 25 survivors regularly.
If you would like to support SafeCircle please visit here.
Cyber Saathi is a program that Red Dot Foundation is facilitating in conjunction with Supreme Court Advocate, Nappinai NS and her team. It aims to raise awareness on topics like gender sensitivity, responsible use of technology, digital rights and prevention of online harassment. In September, we successfully conducted 10 workshops for 6 schools, covering more than 800 beneficiaries.
‘Gender Sensitivity’ in most schools is rarely discussed or encouraged. There are many factors that contribute to the hesitation in speaking about these topics. Some of which are: lack of knowledge, stigma, mindset etc. Also another issue is that most people have limited knowledge on the correct use of technology relating to the safety features of the digital space which is now considered a necessity in the current situation. Sometimes due to the lack of knowledge, we tend to use online media without exercising enough caution which could result in unintentionally stepping into a ‘Cybercrime’ situation.
Feedback from these sessions are very positive and forthcoming with beneficiaries getting clarity on how to stay safe.
If you would like us to do the workshops in your school or college, do write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Urban Thinkers Campus 5.0
Red Dot Foundation’s Urban Thinkers Campus – Citizen Action lab for Safe and Inclusive Cities was attended by over 200 people on September 10 and 11. Its objectives were to identify existing indicators for safe and inclusive cities, to crowdsource more citizen indicators, and to encourage citizens to drive change within their communities. This is very closely related to both the New Urban Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals.
Participants listened to experts who are driving change in their cities across a wide spectrum. They then engaged in a facilitated discussion on what they would like to change in their cities and how they could implement it. On day 1, the discussion was focussed around four safe city indicators based on the theme. The themes were: the safety and inclusion of women, LGBTQ, children, and the disabled. On day 2, the four themes discussed were social and health infrastructure, inclusive housing, informal economies, and inclusive mobility.
The Consulate General of Sweden in Mumbai and Red Dot Foundation organized “Democracy Talks – Accelerating Equality” where we had a detailed discussion on “What makes a city-friendly for Women and LGBTQ+ Community and the Role of Youth in an Active Democracy”. We had some great speakers – Anna Lekvall, Consul General of Sweden in Mumbai, Nishtha Satyam, Deputy country Representative for UN Women in India, Harish Iyer, Founder of the Jimme Foundation, and ElsaMarie DSilva, Founder & CEO of Red Dot Foundation.
Ms. Anna Lekvall shared their initiative “Sweden in India” to nurture and strengthen democracy through dialogue and discussion with partners with the aim of inclusion of women and LGBTQ. 67% of the youth attending shared they are moderately active in democracy while 19% highly active, 97% people said that youth can make a difference in democracy and simultaneously 95% said that we need more education on democracy.
Harish Iyer, an LGBTQ activist and Founder of The Jimme Foundation shared “none of us are equal or free until all of us are equal or free” and the onus lies on privileged ones to make everybody equal and free. Post section 377 we are still not in a world that is equal and democratic. ElsaMarie DSilva described how grim the situation of gender equality is in India and what role Safecity, Red Dot Foundation is playing in working positively to curb it. Nishtha Satyam shared how we need to push together and push harder to bridge the gap in inequality and how we can not guard democracy until women are not included.
In another poll, we asked how youth can be advocates of democracy; 89% agreed on “educating other youth on democracy”, 61% agreed on reading further on democracy, 59% agreed on volunteering with an NGO, 58% agreed on attending more events on democracy and 38% agreed on writing an article on democracy.
In the September edition of the ‘Knowledge Café’, we conducted sessions on various diverse topics ranging from mental health. to perceptions related to sex work, to understanding disabilities, and much more. The sessions were conducted by a guest speaker, who enlightened us on the session’s topic by sharing valuable insights on it.
We had the honor of Ahana and Sunitha from Samaritans Mumbai, who in one of the sessions, simply discussed the quality of being a good and empathetic listener. While, Sandhya from Kranti India Organisation and Harish Iyer (moderator) gave insights about sex work and its perceptions. Sandhya being the daughter of a sex worker shared her personal experiences. During the ‘International Deaf Awareness week’, V-shesh organization not only busted myths that revolve around hearing disabilities but also educated the audience on using basic sign language. And the last session of the month was based on the best practices relating to work from home. Hosted and moderated by ElsaMarie D’Silva, CEO & Founder, Red Dot Foundation in association with the US Consulate discussed the “New Normal”. Guest speakers who were various corporate executives, expressed their experiences and practices that they have implemented within their organisations during the lockdown.
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.
Find new episodes every Wednesday at 6:00 PM IST / 08:30 AM EST on YouTube.
Bal Suraksha Rise Up
Red Dot Foundation started online sessions for all the schools and is continuing the work that we were doing to make schools safer for children in Satara. With many children, parents, and teachers having little knowledge regarding online sessions, there were interactive and innovative sessions conducted using Google hangouts and conference calls for people who didn’t possess a smart phone.
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 to help them identify, prevent, address and respond to child sexual abuse. Through these sessions, the outreach covered 9 teachers and 47 ‘Know Your Right Educators’ covering 168 indirect beneficiaries. The parents and teachers have found these sessions to be very useful as it not only strengthens knowledge and skill but also creates a sense of belonging and community spirit. The number of ‘Know Your Right Educators’ have expanded by sharing their opinions and views, motivating their friends to join and clearing their myths. They presented their views about the sessions and impressed the Block Development Officer on the need for a school counsellor and the same is under consideration.
Safecity Active Saturday
Four sessions of Safecity Active Saturdays were hosted by Red Dot Foundation in collaboration with Fit4Life and Fit India Mission. Alternating between yoga and various other fitness routines, we have regular participation to stay active and healthy. Do sign up here.
Sunday Reflections is a chat show that ElsaMarie DSilva hosts every Sunday at 5 pm IST with leaders from various fields. They discuss mentorship, coping during COVID19, social issues and social impact and more. In September guests included Merine John, DGM CSR, Essar Foundation, Supriya Dharkar, Climate Fellow at UNFCCC and Soma Maitra, VP and Head of Innovation, Super Markets at Reliance Retail.
Our Global Newsletter
Do subscribe to the Red Dot Foundation Global newsletter if you would like specific news featuring our work across the globe.
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 September?
- Knowledge Cafe; every Tuesday! Sign up here.
- Register for “Social Distancing: Changing the way we work ” 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