Remember the good feeling inside you when you help someone and a deep sense of satisfaction when it’s a complete stranger? Hate to bring it up but remember… the brutal and barbaric Nirbhaya episode? It left many of us wishing ‘we were there to help her’. Here’s a story of a person who decided to put the thought into action. He made an app to help people connect with good Samaritans in their immediate vicinity. Remember, if you help a stranger today, another stranger will help you or your loved one someday… Read on to find out more about using your smartphone the 'Good Way'!
The night Nirbhaya was raped and thrown off a moving bus, Jaspal Oberoi was driving back home on the same road, at the same time. He had no way of knowing though, until the next morning when he read about it in the newspaper. “I remember the sadness when I was thinking, ‘I wish I had known’. That's when the seed for this idea was sowed. I realised, I wanted to find an easy way for people to be able to help in times of need,” he reminisced.
The founder of Blink, Jaspal Oberoi, is a merchant navy Captain and thrives on helping people. He went on a hurricane relief operation in the Caribbean, supplying hundreds of tons of relief aid to the islands hit by Hurricanes Irma and Maria. As a token of appreciation, the Prime Minister of Dominica, Mr Roosevelt Skerrit called him in to thank him for his help after Dominica was devastated by Hurricane Maria in September 2017.
There is a pressing need for more active bystanders and people who are willing to stand up and take action when needed. “Since biblical times, these folks have been referred to as Good Samaritans. We want to make a huge network of Good Samaritans across the globe, so that help can always get to you within the blink of an eye,” explained Oberoi, on the philosophy behind the app.
There are numerous such apps that send out alerts to known family and friends or the police, when someone is in an emergency situation. However, there is a very slim chance that any of these people can reach out to the person within the first few critical minutes. The Blink App not only sends an alert to your family/friends, in addition it sends alerts to users of the app nearby. This lets them reach out to the help seeker in a matter of minutes that too without jeopardising one’s own safety. “Effective bystander intervention is something we want to educate our users about. There are proven ways to lend a hand without putting your own safety at risk. We have covered every possible loophole in keeping our users safe. False alerts and spamming users can be reported. Every user on the app is verified against a phone number. This ensures that although the users might be strangers to each other, they are verified in our database,” pointed out Oberoi.
Upon receiving an alert, the following steps should ideally be taken:
- Check the location of the help seeker, keeping in mind that the position indicated on the map might be off by 100-200 m, depending upon the help seeker's GPS signal.
- Listen to the 10-second audio recording that is received from the help seeker's phone. This will give a responder a good idea of what is going on.
- Chat with other responders within the app. Sometimes, the help seeker also might be in a position to chat or at least drop in one quick message to give responders an idea of the problem.
- Proceed calmly and cautiously towards the help seeker's position. Do not run into trouble yourself. The idea is to show up in numbers and make your presence known.
- Figure out the best course of action, along with the other responders. Educate yourself on how to be an #ActiveBystander.
- Alert the authorities.
- Collect photographic evidence, if required to help law enforcement personnel.
Did you know, helping is the new cool thing to do? Do it to experience it. Go ahead and brag about it. Announce it on social media. Why not if it inspires someone else? Somewhere, it will be a pat on Jaspal Oberoi’s back as well. He deserves it.
Moreover, the app heavily relies on its user base for being effective. It is an initiative to crowdsource safety. The more you share, the more the users, the better the chances of someone getting help in a time of need. If every user shares with at least five of their contacts, that should get the app a decent number of Good Samaritans on-board.
Steady and organic growth is the way to go for a concept like this. “We are looking for partnerships with other organisations that will help us spread the word,” Oberoi informed. There’s more in the making… “There is a lot more that will be done, in terms of extra features, data analytics and building bigger and better things,” is what Oberoi wants to do next.
That’s incredible. But the success of this app lies on us. For this to work, the user base has to increase. As you move out of the Storypedia page, go to the playstore and download it NOW. Be the link and help someone nearby, today!
Here’s the link to Blink on Google Play Store: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.blinksafety.blink
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