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 7 weeks old and the circle is growing every week with new members joining and accessing the safe space for personal healing and growth. Supreet K Singh, our Director and a certified counsellor, facilitates and leads the SafeCircle sessions combining her certification in counselling as well as 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. Do join the 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.
If you would like to donate please visit here
Knowledge Cafe – Stride with Pride
The month of June is celebrated globally as Pride month. Therefore, we at Red Dot Foundation, in collaboration with the Jimme Foundation organized a series of online knowledge Café sessions with eminent individuals from the Indian LGBTQ+ community and allies as well. In a post Section 377 India, we understand the importance of learning more from the lived experience of these artists and activists and how we can contribute to creating a more accepting and inclusive society for the community. Our guests included members from the queer community – activists like Simran Shaikh and Harish Iyer, drag artist Durga Gawde as well as allies like Nilakshi Roy and Arati Kedia who highlighted the role of parents and first responders in fostering a nurturing and accepting environment. The last sessions were moderated by Harish Iyer himself on How Patriarchy Impacts Males and Woke Culture. We saw 130+ individuals in attendance and received positive feedback from the attendees who found the personal testimonies of these individuals inspiring, moving and expressed their interest in attending further sessions.
Feminism in Reel Life – Queer Activism
This month was dedicated to Pride month and the theme was ‘Queer Activism’. Jimme Foundation, run by Harish Iyer, partnered with us on this initiative. Each week the discussions focused on different aspects of the theme, thus creating a learning benefit.
June 3 -Sridhar Rangayan – National award winning Director & the organizer of Kashish film festival discussed the documentary, ‘Breaking Free’, which was based on the history of Queer activism in India. This discussion was led by Harish Iyer – Indian Equal Rights Activist, moderated by Kajal Antil from Red Dot Foundation and Ria Sharma – LGBTQ youth activist & a TEDx speaker.
June 10 – Onir, Award winning film & TV Director for the movie ‘I AM’ spoke on violence faced by the queer community. The session was moderated by Harish Iyer.
June 17 – Arati Kedia – Anti Teacher, Intermodal Therapeutic Practitioner, conducted a session on ‘How to be Good First Responders’ which was moderated by Ria Sharma. Although not based on a movie theme, this session was to facilitate and be of some help to the community of survivors, who are going through one or the other kind of violence due to the lockdown.
June 24 – The discussion led by Harish Iyer, was on ‘Gender and Sexuality’ through advertising and media.
The pilot online session which was at the end of May, was co-facilitated by N.S. Nappinai & Red Dot Foundation, who shared information on the legislation, followed by a Q&A. The session stimulated the interests of the participants who had many queries on stalking, phishing, sexting etc. In the month of June, the format was changed to an interactive session keeping in mind the feedback from the participants of the previous session in May & also to accommodate the enthusiastic audiences in June, who were eager to know the answers to their questions while the session was going on.
Also June being the Pride month, specific questions from the participants on gender norms, same sex relationships – revenge porn, dismissive attitude online to questioning sexist/misogynist portrayals through cinema and media & the applicable laws for the queer community were addressed. Concluding comments from most of the participants were: ‘the interactive session was very helpful, interested to attend more of such sessions, thank you for the information etc. The feedback not only displayed an increase in the demand to have more sessions but it also equated to the quality of the content and topics discussed.
Yoga for Equality and Peace
21 June was the International Day of Yoga. Red Dot Foundation in partnership with the Government of India’s Fit India Mission hosted 3 sessions of yoga for equality and peace online at 8 am, 10 am and 7 pm IST.
Yoga and meditation has the regenerative power to deal with crisis and helps build community resilience. Our themes of Equality and Peace were in resonance to current times where we are all grappling with spikes in domestic violence, rascism, casteism and other forms of violence and discrimination.
Each yoga session was for an hour along with an expert discussion on yoga, equality and mindfulness.
Supreet K Singh, our Director & COO, also a yoga acharya conducted two sessions and Dimple Sopher, cofounder of Fit4Life conducted the morning session.
Building Inclusive Cities
ElsaMarie DSilva, Founder, Red Dot Foundation 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.
The series included speakers who were Politicians, Mayors, Architects, Economists, Policymakers, Police, Development Professionals, Journalists, and Advocates,who discussed 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.
Tune in to the live cast every Wednesday at 6:00 PM IST / 08:30 AM EST on YouTube.
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
Global Cyber Peace Conference
Red Dot Foundation was fortunate to be part of the Rotary Peace Fellowship Alumni Association’s inaugural Global Cyber Peace Conference. ElsaMarie DSilva hosted two panels – Technology and Peacebuilding and Gender Justice in South Asia, in addition to the Closing Plenary.
Technology and Peace – Session on how technology can facilitate data collection, sharing and dissemination. Panelists shared examples from their work in highlighting inequality, democratising opportunities, planning smart cities, encouraging accountability and enhancing wellbeing.
Gender Justice in South Asia – South Asia has a very high patriarchal culture resulting in many different forms of violence and discrimination against women and girls. When it comes to violence against women, at least one third of women in the world experience some form of violence in their lifetime.
Crises like the current COVID19 expose the fault lines of systemic and cultural gaps and inefficiencies. This part dived into some of these challenges and also discussed successful interventions in security, policing, legislation, virtual spaces, grassroots initiatives and amongst indigenous populations during war and peace.
Global Learning & Closing – Asia & Oceania – collectively brainstorming ideas harvesting feedback.
Bal Suraksha – Rise up
As the pandemic has not made it easy for us to go to the schools and continue the work we are doing to make schools safer for children in Satara, Red Dot Foundation started online sessions for all the schools we are working with 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 these sessions to be engaging and knowledgeable. The sessions were focused on Self-Motivation during this pandemic, orator & writing skills, time management, trusted people/safe unsafe touch etc. The methodologies used were storytelling, art and craft, yoga for peace, dance, music, essay and poetry writing.
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 130+ people. The parents and teachers found these sessions to be very useful as it not only builds knowledge and skill but also creates a sense of belonging and community spirit.
Anjana Priya J.R. is a final year Medical student at KMC, Manipal who strongly believes that words alone have an inexplicable power to bring about the change that we wish to see in the society. She is a blogging intern at Safecity and writes poetry, mostly on mental health and sexual abuse, in the hope that it might give her readers even the slightest bit of strength to keep fighting.
Anjana joined Safecity in the middle of 2019 when she was in her third year of undergraduate Medicine. At first it wasn’t easy as she had to juggle between college and writing but after a while, she was able to balance all of it efficiently. With Renita’s guidance, Anjana learnt how to proofread articles multiple times to look for even the tiniest errors. She has always believed that even the simplest words have the ability to bring about a massive impact on readers and Safecity has only affirmed that belief. After being with Safecity for all this time, she can only say that it has come to feel like home.
She couldn’t be more glad for having been given this incredible opportunity to contribute to a platform that works towards the empowerment of genders that are at a disadvantage and will surely continue to work harder to learn and contribute even more.
Click here to read more about her experience.
Our Global Newsletter
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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 July?
- 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