Safer Neighbourhood Action Program Launched

City Technology Top Story

The NGO Durga is implementing several safety measures in the city.

By Saloni Arora

Bengaluru, Nov. 18, 2018.

Durga, an NGO in Bangalore, is going to launch the SNAP (Safer Neighbourhood Action Program) project in the city. Under the project, they will be introducing three- course syllabus structured around gender conversations and sexual harassment, especially in underprivileged schools and colleges.

As a part of SNAP, they’ve also decided to install 100 panic alarms buttons in BMTC buses in areas like  Jayanagar, Shantinagar and Banashankari.

“We have already put up about 150 alarms in BMTC buses across the city. But this time, we are targeting to install 100 alarms in the Jayanagar, Shanthinagar and Banashankari depot buses. We will also, as part of the project, train the drivers and conductors and also spread awareness among the commuters about the alarms,” confirmed by Meenakshi.

Durga’s work is specifically involved in the area of women and children safety specifically against sexual harassment. Through their work, they have been able to reach out to over 7000 women and children from across all classes, privileged, underprivileged, educated, uneducated, as well as across varied geographic locations.

Meenakshi, an employee at Durga said, “This year, we felt it would be good for us to target one specific geographical area and work extensively with that target group only as a means to be able to measure and tabulate our successes in this space. Our work is entirely in the area of deterrence and this is a very difficult parameter to measure. Hence, we felt if we had to get a sizeable, quantifiable data, we must then localise our work and address one area at a time. This process will also help us replicate the model across any other locality, city or state.

“Under the project SNAP, we will be working specifically with children from underprivileged schools and colleges, and engage with them with a three-course syllabus structured around gender conversations and sexual harassment.

We felt that children and adolescents are at an age when we can mould them to understand behaviour and amend regressive or inappropriate behaviour at the first instance. The three-course workshop module developed for the children will help them identify behaviours which are inappropriate, recognise areas that are unsafe and be able to build a community of young children who take safety very seriously and who also propagate healthy behaviour among their peers.

This is with a view to creating the change we would want to see in society, harnessing citizens to build such communities and nurturing these communities which can be replicated elsewhere too”, said the CEO of Durga.

“It is a commendable step by Durga in organising a structured program for children coming from the underprivileged background. There also plan to add more panic buttons in the BMTC buses to help women feel safe while travelling”, Akshaya an employee of Hinduja Global Solutions.

Dr Anju Dabas, a government school teacher gave her view, “Sex education is an incredibly essential part of the knowledge that should be instilled in students from a young age. Of all the age groups, children are the most vulnerable and least-informed group. They are in all possible manners dependent on adults for confirmation and concepts regarding right and wrong. So it is the responsibility of parents and teachers, who hold the power to train these tender minds, to teach them the correct way and attitude towards sexual relations, to tell the difference between right and wrong touch, to not be hesitant in asking questions. Because sex is a taboo in the country, it has caused suffering on infinite occasions at the hands of lack of information.”

At the end of the project, Durga, with the help of the children, is aiming to draw up a safety map of the locality with suggestions to improve safety in those localities. These suggestions will then be presented to the civic agencies concerned which will help them to build on the maps and advocate the changes.

Dr Abhijit Kundu, a sociologist at Delhi University believes that, “All Techno efforts can only supplement a positive human concern in awareness about the issue. Gender sensitisation is primary. Definitely, under duress, one can seek help and press a panic button. These are just catchy and savvy solutions.