It had all started as a discussion between Elsa Marie Dsilva (Founder: Safecity.in) and Sonal Kapoor (Founder:Protsahan) when they met during their Vital Voices Fellowship Programme in Nepal. Vital Voices is an international organization that invests in extraordinary women who are trying to transform the world, one unique step at a time with sustainable approaches. Vital Voices works with extraordinary women leaders accelerating peace and prosperity in their communities.
The underlying theme for Sonal and Elsa’s discussion that afternoon over a coffee was to build access to safe spaces for girls irrespective of their economic strata. Understanding each other’s strength areas, Elsa’s being, managing a strong technology platform and Sonal’s being, quality grassroot work to work for India’s at risk girls through creative arts, this campaign came up over a period of ensuing 7-8 months, when Elsa and Sonal met again at Mumbai. Before they knew it, Salini, took the onus to execute it with Protsahan’s girl leaders in Delhi!
Since then, Salini bought in more people to collaborate, Brianna, Aarya and so many more fabulous young people who have added to the campaign in their own unique ways! Phase 1 and Phase 2 of this campaign has successfully been completed. Phase 1 involved the girls understanding the issue of safe public spaces, interacting & brainstorming with the Safecity team on finding unique yet local solutions to problems that plague girl safety in Uttam Nagar slum community in New Delhi. It also involved a Slum Panchayat Session where Sonal interacted with the mothers of the girls and explained them the importance of doing data mapping of their streets and communities.
Phase 2 of the campaign progressed when the mothers became crusaders alongside their daughters on this campaign! From initial hiccups where they were afraid; to the subsequent stage where they patted their girls’ backs and asked them to tread with complete confidence and raise their voice, this campaign has traversed a path breaking journey indeed. Exactly this time, while the campaign execution was happening in the slums, an unrelated, but brutal incident had taken place in the community where a 8 year old boy was raped and murdered. Though the initial reaction of the community was to feel scared, gradually when the Protsahan girls picked up their batons with the team from Safecity, there has been no looking back. They have gone ahead and collected over 117 reports with hardcore data sets where they have recorded both qualitative and quantitative responses to understand the issue of street sexual harassment and more in the related context.
It is now that they have started documenting their voices in form of creative design posters which’ll go up on the walls of their communities. Also, a small film is being shot documenting the entire progress of the campaign alongside our learnings and what could have been achieved more innovatively. The girls are excited and so are we!
Stay tuned for the campaign film that’ll be out in a few weeks! It’s turning out to be one revolutionary piece of work executed by young adolescent children.
Do tweet to us at @NGOProtsahan and @PinTheCreep, we are waiting to hear from you on what you have to say about this effort by the girls 🙂
The campaign was also featured on DNA India during the International Anti-Street Harassment Week 2015. Read more on- http://www.iamin.in/anti-street-harassment-week/2015-04-17/20150417120118
To know more about Protsahan’s work, check out their official website: www.protsahan.co.in