Safecity Monthly Updates – October 2020

Red Dot Foundation celebrates 6 years of making cities safer for women and girls


Here’s what our Safecity’s team has to say-

Red Dot Foundation (Safecity) is where magic happens. It’s always been a vibrant journey with many new beginnings and beautiful memories. Happy anniversary Safecity, thrilled to be part of making spaces safer for all!”

Tania Echaporia, Director – Operations and Partnerships


” Got to learn new things” and ” My patience has increased a lot “

– Mona More, Program Outreach Officer Pune


“The purpose of is in its name , making public places safe for all , the drive energy and enthusiasm comes from all of us collectively wanting a better place to live and work in ! RDF gives us that channel”

-Gillian D’Souza-Nazareth, Director Global Partnerships and Principle Representative to the United Nations


The two most important aspects about people working in a team is ‘ability’ & ‘passion’. Both of which were effectively & efficiently engineered by the Leadership team of RDF under the guidance of ElsaMarie D’Silva – Founder & CEO and Supreet K Singh – Director & COO. 

It’s like Forrest Gump said, ‘Life is like a box of chocolates.’ Your career is like a box of chocolates – you never know what you’re going to get. But everything you get is going to teach you something along the way and make you the person you are today. That’s the exciting part – it’s an adventure in itself. 

My journey has been just that……I did not know what I was getting into when I joined RDF last year in March. But along the way I have been enriched with great learnings from my colleagues; be it processes, technology, endurance & many more. It’s also given me the opportunity to meet & network with amazing people from all walks of life. My working experience here has made me humble & grateful for who I am & what I have in life. Thank you to my extended family – Red Dot Foundation.

-Marissa Borges, Head – Training & Program Outreach


“Success of an organisation depends on transparency and constant communication and Safecity-RDF delivers both. This has been my first working experience and it has been an amazing journey. I will continue to work as hard as I can to make this organisation proud.”

-Kajal Antil, Youth Engagement Officer


“My journey at Safecity has been about broadening my understanding of Women’s issues and realising the value of teamwork” 

-Jyoti Goyal, Program and Outreach Officer


“This organisation came as a blessing in my life. It has helped me broaden my thoughts and showed me the importance of team work, time management, and self-expression. It’s been a guiding force to be part of the change I want in the society”

Nandita Nambiar, Communication Manager


“Safecity, over the months, has become an extension of my expression. I have found a place to be a part of change and upholding the tomorrow I want to live.”

– Shalini Sharma, Communication Executive


“Safecity, an organisation which aims to make cities safer by motivating everyone to come out and speak; an organisation which helped me in understanding the ways to make our world a more human-friendly space; an organisation which provided me a platform to do my small part in a big change.”

-Aniket Pratap Singh, Graphic Designing Intern


“Safecity has taught me so much about community, and I’ve loved working here. This journey has been absolutely, truly amazing, and one I look forward to continue being a part of.”’

– Antara Basu, Blogging Intern


“Safecity is an epitome of a healthy work environment. This organization has given me a lot, great friends, inspiring events to work on, people to help me throughout and the list will keep going. “

– Amana Parveen, Communication Intern


“All through my journey, Safecity has taught me to translate my learnings into actions rapidly and efficiently.” 

– Nancy Antil

We would like to thank everyone who has been part of this journey and been a support and source of strength. We are grateful.




SafeCircle is a safe space for survivors of violence and harassment. Over the past five months, we have supported over 25 survivors regularly, helping them build a community of support, share strategies, experiences, and a safe space. Through these sessions, they learn different ways to process and deal with the violence they have experienced and boost their confidence to reach out for help.
If you would like to support SafeCircle please visit here.


The “Be A Cyber Saathi™” awareness program is an online workshop focused on increasing knowledge and awareness of cyber safety on digital spaces with special focus on women and child safety online. This awareness program was initially launched by Cyber Saathi in collaboration with Red Dot Foundation for the students, parents and faculty of Banasthali Vidyapith University, Rajasthan. Thereafter it was channelised to other learning institutes Pan India in order to educate students between the ages of 14- 25, their teachers & parents. These workshops are sponsored by the British High Commission India and the US Consulate General of Mumbai.

The main purpose was to raise awareness on the ongoing gender based cyber crimes together with safety & security redressal measures. The session is very interactive; using zoom’s cloud based pro features such as breakout rooms, polls etc. as well as on line tools that lets you engage and interact with your audience in real-time through quizzes – to gauge content understanding and analysis tools to obtain feedback.

Till date we have trained approx. 2500 direct beneficiaries who will then share their knowledge with the students & faculty from their schools/colleges and also with their family and friends thus building awareness & literacy for a larger community who would fall into the category of indirect beneficiaries. Mentioned below are some quotes received from the participants who attended the workshop.

Principal – Heritage Girls School, Udaipur – “Thank you very much for sparing the time and effort to conduct the session on Cyber Safety for our students and members of staff. Undoubtedly, this workshop has come at the right time, moreso when all of us are so completely engaged in, and dependent on the internet. The feedback I got from all the participants was heartening; I’m sure the awareness you generated will go a long way in ensuring that the girls use technology responsibly and safely”.

Student 1 – “The session was really informative and an eye-opener. In the wake of teenage, we often neglect the dangers that prevail ahead of us. This session gave an opportunity to reflect what we prioritize and gave us ample food for thought. More over the session was interactive, that made it interesting rather than a boring webinar. It was enjoyable to attend it.

Student 2 – It was very informative. We got to know about many things which we actually weren’t aware about. It even included gender based stereotypes which actually is the most crucial topic to be discussed on. It was an interactive session, which actually adds to the interest of the audience. Gender sensitivity, difference between sex & gender, role of social media, cyber crime examples, sexting etc. were discussed which are the topics which aren’t spoken or talked about in such a society. The polls & the question/answer session made it more interesting. I really learnt a lot & it was my pleasure to be present in the session. Looking forward to more such informative sessions like this”.

Teacher – “ Thank you for an outstanding workshop which clearly exceeded all my expectations! A very well rounded and well-structured intro to Gender Sensitization and Cyber Security.the content of the workshop was relevant to the time and detailed. I really enjoyed it & I’m hoping what I learned here can help take my cyber knowledge to the next level. We now feel much better prepared to secure ourselves from cyber crimes”.
Please do get in touch with us (here) If your institution is interested in having a session done for your students & faculty.


Urban Innovation Action Lab on World Habitat Day

During our UTC 5.0 – Citizen Action Lab for Safe and Inclusive Cities on 10-11 September, we identified existing indicators & crowdsourced Citizen indicators for safe and inclusive cities and communities. As part of the lab, we invited participants to commit to localised actions for change. Subsequently on 5 October, The World Habitat Day, we invited eight young people to present their action for safe and Inclusive Cities. Their pitches were followed by breakout rooms where the other participants could give suggestions to improve and strengthen their action plans and the implementation.

This was followed by an expert panel discussion moderated by ElsaMarie D’Silva, Founder and CEO of Red Dot Foundation. Hitesh Vaidya, Executive Director of NIUA announced the partnership between NIUA, The Urban Vision and Red Dot Foundation on the Inclusive Cities Civic Innovation Accelerator. He also shared how smart cities need to be inclusive and require city-led action in order to start self-assessment and definition of themselves and their inclusivity. He also emphasized on collaboration with different groups, working with civic innovation labs, mainstreaming the actions and working with the younger generation to build a new India.

On the question of the role of innovation in safe and inclusive city planning, Dr. Sanita Hasnale, Assistant Commission, Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai, mentioned how inclusiveness means including everyone in society regardless of gender and requires everyone to have access to skill development programs. Juma Assiago, UN Habitat explained the 40-day safer city challenge for urban cities and highlighted the 5 years of work on safety strategies and intervention, focusing on how communities can co-create safety in collaboration with the government. He also mentioned the exciting innovations coming out of the 40-day challenge. On the RISE (Resilient, Intelligent, Sustainable, Equitable) city concept, Barbara Muller, BMW Foundation Herbert Quandt described how a passion for change can impact organizations and the structures they are a part of which then creates systems changes. She explained how the Foundation is leveraging a network of Responsible Leaders as well as expertise in bringing many groups together to help foster development on inclusive solutions that match cities’ needs. Prathima Manohar, Founder of The Urban Vision explained how urban design techniques need to go hand in hand with citizen-led action and political change which requires collective public problem solving and an ecosystem of civic innovators.



Impact of Urban Design on Inclusive Cities: Intersections and Crossroads

On 5th October, 2020, World Habitat Day, we kicked off the Global Diplomacy Lab (GDL)’s Mumbai Incubator Lab on Impact of Urban Design on Inclusive Cities: Intersections and Crossroads. The GDL is an initiative of the German Federal Foreign Office to engage diplomats and non-diplomats on the world’s most pressing problems. It is a member driven network and ElsaMarie DSilva is part of this prestigious group.

The lab focuses on SDGs 5 (Gender), 11 (Sustainable Cities), and 17 (Partnerships) and its aim is to develop a framework to report the SDGs at the city level in line with the New Urban Agenda and create a strategy for implementation. The lab consists of two phases – an online incubator lab which engages the participants through virtual sessions and an impact lab in September 2021. The challenge holder is the Municipal Corporate of Greater Mumbai.

On 16th October, there was a session  “Understanding the Landscape – International to Local” with experts like Prof Geeta Mehta, Sanjay Sridhar and Shreya Malu sharing their experiences. This detailed presentation set the tone for the lab over the next few months and gave the participants a deeper understanding of Mumbai, the case study. The session ended on a cultural note to introduce everyone to the Indian festival of Dussehra.



International Day of the Girl child – Be A SuperShero Campaign

As rightly quoted by Michelle Obama “There is no limit to what we women can accomplish”. The world celebrated the International Day of the Girl Child on 11th October. Red Dot Foundation partnered with the Consulate General of Sweden, Mumbai to host a campaign and competition for young girls below 18 years who were encouraged to submit an interesting story of grit and courage. The girls were asked to share their experience in the form of photos, videos, stories, articles, poems, artwork or songs where they are breaking barriers of gender stereotypes. The idea of “BE A SUPERSHERO“ is to showcase these stories, encourage girls to be whoever they want to be and not get boxed in with stereotypes. Winning entries will get a certificate and will be invited to tea with Consul General Anna Lekvall. All participants will receive a gift.



Social Distancing Sessions with US Consulate

The US Consulate General of Mumbai and Red Dot Foundation have been hosting a series of virtual sessions “Social Distancing Sessions – changing the way we work in the future” which helps build capacity and skills to deal with the “new normal”.

On 29th September, experts from various corporates shared their best practices on a panel – “Work from Home – Best Practices”. They shared the changes in policies and practices engaged within their organisations to help their employees deal with the changed scenarios, adjust to work from home and for frontline staff to stay safe. Do check the video for tips that you can use within your organisation.

On 6th October, Rukmini Iyer, Founder of Exult Solutions facilitated a session on Non-Violent Communication for Gender Equality When Working from Home. COVID19 has impacted our physical and mental wellbeing and has brought uncertainty, isolation and financial pressure. Rukmini gave us simple tips on communicating under pressure, understanding various techniques that we can use to avoid conflict and ways to de-escalate tension. The quality of our life depends on the quality of our communication. Do check the session here.

On 20th October, Dimple Sopher, Fit4lLife organisation and Supreet K. Singh, Red Dot Foundation facilitated a session on fitness and mindfulness to build resilience in mind and body. Dimple took us through a series of chair exercises which can very easily be done at one’s desk. Seven minutes a day can help build your resilience and keep you in a positive mood. Supreet shared breathing exercises, face yoga and mindfulness practices that can help us stay fully present in the present moment. Part of resilience is being aware of where you are, who you are and what you are doing at the moment and using breath control to regulate your anxiety. This video of the session will help you establish your practice.



Knowledge Cafe

In the October edition of the ‘Knowledge Café’, we conducted sessions on various diverse topics ranging from understanding asexuality to suicide prevention & awareness. Sign up for our knowledge cafes here.

On 13th October, Raj Saxena, Founder of Indian Asexuals explained asexuality and shared that asexuals feel a sexual desire but not necessarily a sexual attraction. Raj busted the myth of asexuality being a disorder or disease and discussed various myths and questions regarding asexuality. The session ended with the conclusion that all that matters is love and caging anyone for their sexuality is cruel and nasty.

On 27th October, Ms. Ketaki Sanghavi from Sister Living Works, discussed the magnitude of the issue of suicide and the need to raise awareness. Through a poll, we were able to understand the participants’ perception about suicide, following which we talked about myths and facts. From the poll, 83% people thought that talking about suicide will implant the idea of suicide in a person’s mind which is totally a myth. 50% of the participants thought people use suicide as a threat to get attention which was again a myth. We also discussed causes of suicides, warning signs, symptoms and the role of first responders in preventing suicide.




Bal Suraksha RISE UP

Red Dot Foundation is working in the Satara district on a project called Bal Suraksha on behalf of RISE Up for Girls. During COVID19, we had to move all our awareness sessions on child sexual abuse online but many of the students, teachers and parents did not have smart phone access or internet connectivity. Therefore we had to adapt our programs to suit their needs, using technology like conference calls, WhatsApp and Google hangouts. Our sessions, though online, are interactive and participatory using the features available like polls, chats, etc. 

Through these sessions, we have reached out to over 450 beneficiaries including 2 teachers and 51 ‘Know Your Right Educators’. The highlight was the counseling session conducted on 18th October where 250 teachers from Satara joined along with a block education officer. These sessions are quite helpful and useful for the parents as well as teachers as it helps in strengthening the knowledge and skills to identify, prevent, address and respond to child sexual abuse along with creating a strong community spirit. The Know Your Right Educators and teachers have expressed their delight with the sessions.



Inclusive Cities – live casts every Wednesday evening

This is an online live cast that discusses urban challenges around Covid-19 hosted by ElsaMarie DSilva, Founder – Red Dot Foundation and Prathima Manohar, Founder – The Urban Vision who are alumni of the Leadership Network for Change at Stanford’s Centre for Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law.

Through these live casts, experts discuss several issues including designing public spaces, heritage and 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. The guests are globally recognised experts who are politicians, architects, economists, policymakers, police, development professionals, and advocatesJoin us every Wednesday at 6:00 PM IST / 07:30 AM EST on YouTube.





Safecity Active Saturday

In collaboration with Fit4Life and Fit India Mission, Red Dot Foundation hosted five sessions alternating between fitness routines by Dimple Sopher and yoga routines by Supreet K Singh. Safecity Active Saturday has regular participation from people who are keen on staying active and healthy. Click here to access all the sessions.



Sunday Reflections

Hosted by ElsaMarie D’Silva every Sunday at 5pm IST, Sunday Reflections is a chat show with leaders from various fields who discuss mentorship, coping during COVID19, social entrepreneurship, social impact and more. In October, guests included Priya Hingorani, Senior Advocate of Supreme Court, India, Thandi Allin Dyani, Head of Partnerships for Girls Are Awesome, Habiba Ali, Founder of Sosai Renewable Energies and Alanoud Alsharekh, Executive Director of Ibtkar Strategic Consultancy. You can check all episodes here.



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 November?

  • Look out for our Safecity WebApp and Mobile App Launch!
  • 5 Nov – Join ElsaMarie at Sankalp Forum where she speaks on a panel Femtech: The New Frontier in Gender Lens Investing in Emerging Markets?
  • Knowledge Cafe; every Tuesday! Sign up here
  • Join us in SafeCircle, a Safe-Space for Survivors of Domestic Abuse, every Friday at 3 pm IST
  • Every Friday at 9 pm IST/ 10.30 am EST join us on Twitter @pinthecreep


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