This acronym is a new initiative that is as possibly as mighty as its namesake. DURGA- Dare to Understand behaviour, Respond appropriately and Guard ourselves Ably is a unique new initiative to sensitize young women and girls with the evils in their surroundings, and to also garner important life skills to deter mishaps.

 

The initiative aims at filling the roads with DURGAs- who will none other than you, by making you m9re aware and resultantly, more alert.

 

Under the blanket initiative, one mechanism that they have also developed to create safer public spaces is the “DURGA alarm” which will be installed in public transport. Inaugurated on February 7th in the Yelahanka Satellite Bus Stand by the Transport Minister and Chairman of KSRTC, Ramalinga Reddy, the alarm will be a revolutionary system that any woman or child can reach for in a bus, to raise a voice on their behalf.

 

Pictorial messages have also been put up for those who don’t speak the language, to inform them that there is an alarm switch they can use. There is a series of switches placed on either side of the bus on the panel between the windows, placed at a convenient height so that a child can reach for them too. When a switch is pressed, it activates an alarm which will alert anyone inside and outside the bus.

 

Priya Varadarajan, founder of Durga elaborates, “As a part of Durga, I have been working with large number of women, many of whom say that they do not feel confident enough to address the perpetrator directly. It is an established fact that 99% of women have faced some sort of harassment in confined public spaces. This alarm allows the women to alert the driver, conductor and the other passengers about her distress, without having to confront the abuser directly, by pressing the switch or asking someone else to press it.”

 

A set off alarm beeps for 20 seconds, in which case the driver of the bus has to compulsorily stop the bus to check if anyone is in trouble. He must resolve the issue before turning off the switch. If the switch is not turned off, the buzzer will continue going off every ten seconds. Glaring flashing lights installed both inside and outside the bus will accompany the beeping, to alert the police and other commuters on the road.

 

Meera Vijayann, a member of the Advisory Board for Durga, and an elected member of +SocialGood connectors says, “I’ve avoided taking buses before because I’ve never felt safe on local transport. But now, the fact that you can report harassment immediately and so easily makes me confident that I can raise an alarm instantly if I face an issue while travelling within the city.”

 

Original Source: Plus Social Good

[Featured Picture Courtesy: Citizenmatters, Bangalore]