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Getting home safely with a video call

Global Goals & Global Society
Getting home safely with a video call

The new Instagram page "Viola Walk Home" accompanies people worldwide on their way home - via video call. The volunteers are available 24 hours a day and in 16 languages.

It's dark, you're alone on your way home and you have a queasy feeling. You would like to call someone, but you can't reach anyone. That's where Viola Walk Home comes in: You write a message to the Instagram account (@violawalkhome), whereupon they call you via video call and escort you home safely.

In Italy, this has been around for a while under the name "donnexstrada." The site was launched after a young English woman was murdered on her way home in the spring of 2021. The incident sparked a social media debate about women's safety, and the hashtag #TextMeWhenYouGetHome went viral.

"Viola Walk Home" is now available internationally - for free, in 16 different languages and 24 hours a day. Via Instagram message you can write them where you are, where you want to go, what language you speak and when you want a call. The sooner you write to them, the better. With 25 helpers, "Viola Walk Home" is still a very manageable team. "At the moment, we need about half an hour's lead time to place someone," explains Laura De Dilectis, psychologist and CEO of Viola Walk Home.

The Instagram account already has over 88,000 followers:inside. But people who don't have an Instagram profile can also contact "Viola Walk Home." There is an e-mail address on the website that you can write to. By the way, all people are allowed to contact them: gender and age don't matter.

We really wanted to use social media for something social and useful.

The platform is growing steadily and in the future "Viola Walk Home" wants to cover more languages. "In addition, we are also considering other options for people who may not have access to the Internet right now," says De Dilectis. She is therefore always looking for more people to volunteer to help.

I speak Italian, English and German. It's a good way to improve my language skills and do something good at the same time.

Author:Eleanora Laiga

Viola Walk Home Volunteer

One of the volunteers is Eleanora Laiga. It is important to her that people feel safe. In a calm voice, she always talks to the person on the other end of the line, asking questions and giving tips: For example, that people should take their headphones, or at least one of them, out of their ears after all, so that they can recognize ambient noise and possible dangers at an early stage. Only when she sees in the video call that the person has arrived safely at home does she disconnect the call. The development of such an application is not always intended to directly prevent crime. Often the knowledge about the existence of such services already helps the inner peace of many people. For victims who have already had traumatic experiences with sexual assault or other violent crimes or people who are simply afraid to get into such situations and feel safer because they know that there are people who have thought up this application and care if something happens, this knowledge alone already helps immensely and strengthens the psyche and improves the everyday life of many people mentally. It doesn't always have to happen directly for people to start finding solutions. Mental illnesses, depressions, traumas or simply fears and insecurities, are not always directly recognizable from the outside and yet they exist - in addition, many people are affected by them. This is why there is a global society that comes up with innovations to find solutions for situations in which problems can arise or to prevent them. As a result, not only is well-being strengthened, but inequality is also reduced as a long-term consequence.

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