Neta founded the company following a personal incident ten years ago: at a house party, she noticed that one of her friends went missing. While she and her group of friends were looking for her, Neta heard screams from one of the rooms. When she opened the door, they saw her friend half naked in a fight with two guys above her. As soon as they noticed Neta and the other friend entering the room, the men ran away. Neta knew that they had managed to change the whole situation, and learned that there is strength in numbers.
Enter SafeUP. Neta founded SafeUP to create an app which women can use when they feel unsafe, find themselves in real (or potential) danger, and require support, guidance or physical assistance.
SafeUP is a social network which enables women to use the app whenever they feel unsafe, find themselves in (real or potential) danger, and require support, guidance, or physical assistance. SafeUP strengthens the sense of security of women and girls in public spaces by ensuring that every woman feels safe by connecting them quickly and effectively with trained guardians nearby. A SafeUP guardian is a woman who has undergone the SafeUP training process. The SafeUP Community Members know that there are always other women looking after them, who are immediately available if required.
When a SafeUP community member feels insecure, she can open her app to see the number of guardians in her area who are available to assist where necessary. The app will connect the community member to the 2-3 nearest and available guardians who will escort and support the community member in need.
With the SafeUP app, our members are able to feel an immediate sense of confidence simply by viewing their nearby guardians on their screen. All community members can tap ‘call guardians’ for help anytime and will be accompanied until they feel safe – by phone, video, or in person, 24/7.
Our guardian community consists of women over the age of 18 who are prepared to help other community members feel safer. They will also have volunteered to undergo a training process within the SafeUP app.
The SafeUP community has spread beyond the virtual realm: today, there are also local communities for women and girls. The leaders of these communities are called Community Managers in the city and Ambassadors on university campuses. Both roles consist of leading the guardians in their area, creating content, organising events, and relating to local authorities to strengthen their communities.
After every single call, we reach out to the community member who initiated the call and the guardians who answered. The stories we hear lift our spirits every day.
Lee, a SafeUP Guardian shared: “One evening, I heard the cell phone vibrate endlessly. It was midnight, so I wondered: who could it be? I realised that it was a call from the app, so I clicked and saw that the SafeUp Community Member was really close to my house. She said that there was someone following her and that she was really scared. She asked me if I could go and accompany her, and I said of course I could! I went to her location and when I arrived, the man just turned his back and walked away. I calmed her down and offered to call someone who could take her home.”
Hailey, another SafeUP Guardian, shared her experience during a sports activity: "I was on my way to an evening basketball practice at my high school. When I reached the school's gate, I noticed that everything was pitch black. I froze and called a friend, but they didn't answer. I remembered the SafeUP app and opened it to call the guardians. Three amazing ladies that live nearby answered and spoke with me until I reached the basketball court. A scary experience was transformed by a short phone call with strangers."
The first two easy steps are to join SafeUP and undergo the guardian training, which takes 10 minutes. I love that the process is a two-way street: one day I might make a Safe Call to get me safely to my destination, and the next day I might receive a call from a community member that needs me as a guardian.
There are so many ways to utilise the technology around us to make the world a safer place. I chose SafeUP, and I encourage every woman (and girl) to think of what the world is lacking today and go out of her comfort zone to make it come true.
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