In the wake of some very unfortunate incidents of rape and sexual assault, the city of Delhi was labeled as the ‘Rape capital of India’ and perhaps for the first time in the city’s history, it saw people take to the streets by the hundreds in protest. Some called it a new awakening of consciousness and public responsibility, one that has its crests and troughs albeit. Hullabaloo follows in the aftermath of every such case, and then a period of lull takes over. But here are two projects which carry on in their pursuits of making the city safer, in helping prevent rather than lamenting afterward. And no they are not complex laws of the state. Jo mera hai woh mera hai– an Education Tree initiative by Delhi University students and Safer City Project- an Halonix advertising campaign are here with a cause.
Jo mera hai woh mera hai: Started by Smriti Singhal, Kunal Arora and Karan Katyal, all student of DU, The Education Tree has at its core the idea that education goes beyond the classroom and can also adapt the creative forms of arts like dance, drama and craft. And the most important issue that the group sought to address was that of respect for women keeping in mind the poor levels of gender sensitization in society. “The core belief was that we wanted a result-oriented campaign, spreading awareness was pivotal. The fact is that everyone in this society needs to change their mindset when they look at this issue be it a man or a woman. After the Dec 16 rape case everyone was on the streets protesting but the protests were not leading to anything.
I believe that the youth has a lot of energy and that energy needs to be channelized in the right direction,” says Smriti.The campaign ‘jo mera hai woh mera hai’ loosely translates to ‘my body, my rights’ and is a creative expression of grave concerns like women’s safety.
To put their message across, the campaign uses creative art forms like street plays and metro theatres (held at metro stations), flash mobs and freeze mobs. The last is a relatively new concept where a group of people suddenly freeze in their positions and hold up posters with powerful messages and important information in order to attract the attention of those around them.
The aim of the campaign is to deliver important social messages that promote gender sensitization and also to disseminate information regarding helpline numbers, mobile apps and laws pertaining to the issue of women’s rights and women’s safety. Explains Smriti “We are ardent believers of art and therefore, the solution had to be creative. We use art as a medium at The Education Tree to bring social change,” The campaign was launched a year back and today, it has over hundred student volunteers from the University. Over a 1000 freeze mobs and other events have been conducted across the city from places ranging from markets and malls to schools and colleges to metro and railway stations. The Education Tree hopes to take the campaign across the country and do its bit for the society.
Safer City Project: The Safer City Project is a product of some great promotion strategy on part of Halonix- a lighting company. It uses advertising for a social-welfare purpose like few have. In effect, what the project does is put up billboards carrying one-line advertising messages which are then lit up at night doubling up as bright flood lights which help light up dark streets.
To identify which streets were in need of immediate lighting, Halonix used its Safer City Project Facebook page to take the opinion of the city’s residents. On popular vote, Vasant Kunj was the first to get one such board, this was followed by areas in Dwarka and Gurgaon amongst others. The Project has now expanded to cover other cities like Chennai, Lucknow and Mohali. Moreover, Halonix has no copyright over the idea and is open to, even supportive of other companies following suit. Making our cities safer by the night is their primary concern.