A sneak peek of the app!
A sneak peek of the app!
Let me pause and share right from the top! This has been a phenomenal journey with its own challenges and gains at each turn, and the drama is what energises me every time I look back.
December was a harrowing time. We had a cyclone in Chennai with 192 km/hr winds, and it left us with 4,000 fallen trees. Everyday life came to a grinding halt: the grid continues to be unreliable, as internet and cell phone connectivity took a beating. A week prior, Chennai (and the state I live in, Tamil Nadu) was in a state of mourning after losing our leader, the Chief Minister, a fierce and inspiring woman. These events made me realise something rather deep: life is much more than that little hyphen between birth and death. There is so much to do while I am here and the resounding impact left behind can make the world a much better place. At the time, I did feel low and upset that many things were not going my way, but realizing the impact I could have woke me, and I began to work harder. The biggest lesson I learned in December was that it is very important to keep moving forward.
Everyday onward became about making gains, about looking ahead and planning with resilience. I used the time off the grid to connect with friends using the our “former tools” of in-person conversations and telephone conversations and discovered a range of potential testers for the app when ready. So far, I have testers lined up from nearly 87 countries.
Despite the patchy internet connection, I've gotten close to 12,000 entries on the map—which means that many more women are going to have access to help and resources that can keep them safer around the world. I've been blessed with great friends at Safecity and The SAR Foundation, whose collaborative support helps expand impact of the map to more and more women. I'm also incredibly grateful to find organisations like 28TooMany and The Athena Network, for letting me tell my story around building the map. My team - Wendy Moomaw, Kelly Botto and Dafna Hayman, and the amazing team at World Pulse, always kept my spirits up and gave me the strength and the enthusiasm to stay the course through the tough times.
While working on the app, I realised the "gender" discourse was drowned out by discounting the importance of feminism and the understanding of feminism as equality. I found many people online, offline and in one-on-one conversations, saying that they were "not feminist, but equalist." Oftentimes, this came up while we discussed the app and what was to come, and the (lack of) understanding of gender as a concept led to many discussions where I both learned and shared what I knew. These experiences led me to chronicle a note in The Guardian on the three things I learned about gender equality. Have a look and let me know what you think. :)
As I add more data onto the map, I have also checked in with the technical development team that's helping with the coding of the app. So far, the screens are ready, and the app is on its way to accessing data that has already been parsed, and soon will be tested internally by the developers.
Now here's what I really need. I would LOVE to have my sisters across the World Pulse community join in on making this a doubly impactful initiative. If you are willing to be a volunteer supporter, here are the options you can choose from on how to be involved:
(a) Test the app in terms of technicality and functionality, or
(c) Support the app through media / social media / putting the word out on it!
If you would like to volunteer, please feel free to send me a message on WorldPulse, or comment below. Please feel free to share any media contacts you think I can reach out to. Thank you!