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Meet The Five Men Dedicated To Keeping Women Safe In India

Anokhi DIY Anokhi Today Breaking News & Sports World Mar 03, 2016


According to India's National Crime Records Bureau, a sexual assault occurs every 22.5 minutes in the country. This statistic encouraged five engineering students to find a technological solution to help keep women in India safe.


Manik Mehta, Chiraag Kapil, Ayush Banka, Paras Batra and Avinash Bansal came up with an idea for a jewelry startup called Leaf Wearables. Each specially designed pendant, keychain and bracelet has a small circular device at its core called SAFER.


Leaf Wearables Smart Jewelry
Photo Credit: www.leafwearables.com

SAFER works in two ways. When the individual wearing the device feels under attack, they double-click the SAFER device, which will then trigger the app corresponding to the jewelry. The app will then send an alert to the network the user had linked to the device. "They can be family and friends who will get the alert through the app or as an SMS on their phone," says Mehta.

The app also comes complete with a GPS function, so the wearer's chosen network always knows their whereabouts.

"It's your constant companion," Mehta says. "You enter your destination and the time you are leaving, and your network can track your movement the entire time."


Leaf Wearables Smart Pendant
Photo Credit: www.wareable.com

“SAFER will sharply bring down the incidence of molestation and rape, including the thousands of cases that go unreported, because help will be able to reach the woman in time. It will also act as a strong deterrent in several cases,” says Ayush Banka, director of innovation at Leaf Wearables.

The jewelry has an average cost between $52 and $74 and also includes maps showing the nearest police stations and hospitals. It only takes about 15 minutes to charge, which allows for a week of use.

Another feature of the device is SaferWalk. The woman chooses the beginning and end point of her commute and selects someone as a "guardian," who will then be able to SaferWalk with her in real time on the maps until she reaches the destination. 

“Our aim is to put a SAFER in every woman’s hands, so she is empowered to live freely, fully, and, of course, safely,” says Avinash Bansal, director of operations.

Almost 5,000 pieces have sold, with 1,000 customers in Turkey. Leaf Wearables' goal is to get the jewelry to 1 million families by the end of 2017.


Leaf Wearables Team with Their Mascot, "Google"
Photo Credit: www.leafwearables.com

The incident that triggered Leaf Wearables's inception was the 2012 gang-rape of 23-year-old medical student Jyoti Singh. The attack hit home for one of the cofounders, Paras Batra, who lived in the same neighbourhood as Singh.

That's when the friends came up with ideas for something that could help keep women safe. They decided the solution lied at the intersection of technology and jewelry. 

"It had to be tied to a mobile phone because most people have one," says Mehta. "And most women in India wear jewelry." 

The startup has raised $300,000 to date through prize money, friends and family, and outside investors.

"We're often asked why five young men want to tackle this issue," says Mehta. "Our answer is that this isn't a male or female issue. This is a problem that is confronting us as human beings. It shouldn't matter who creates the solution."

Watch the video below to learn more about SAFER.


Main Image Photo Credit: www.money.cnn.com
Nomaan Khan

Nomaan Khan

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After spending some time in a completely different field, Nomaan decided to drop it all and switch to Mohawk College to pursue his longtime interest in the world of Journalism. His experience working in multimedia platforms has helped him develop exceptional skills in thinking on his feet, being ...

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