Creating Change Through Empowerment with Vedanshi Vala
For Co-Founder, Chairperson and Executive Director of BOLT Safety Society, Vedanshi Vala, it has become her and her team’s responsibility to do something about the profoundly alarming reality facing violence against women not only in their community but nationwide.
After creating Bolt Safety Society in 2017, Vala and a team of high school students called ‘HP-TIE’ (Harnessing the Power of Technology through Innovation and Engineering) entered a competition called “International Anu and Naveen Jain Women’s Safety XPRIZE competition”. Despite not winning, they pushed forward with their idea.
“We pushed forward with our initiative and officially incorporated as a federal not-for-profit in the summer of 2020. As such, technically, it’s been just over a year since we’ve officially been an organization,” shares Vala. “Over the years, we’ve grown and learned a considerable amount; however, our core objective remains the same: to create safer communities. Today, our organization consists entirely of volunteers, with youth leadership at its helm.”
With their headquarters based in Metro-Vancouver, British Columbia, Vala explains that the idea of BOLT Safety Society came with realizing the gravity of the situation and wanting to do something to improve it.
“There are harrowing stories you see too often in the media about sexual assault and domestic violence. For example, the UN Women organization reported that one in three women experience some form of sexual violence in their lifetimes. That means in a friend group of 6 people, at least two could very well be survivors,” she says. “I have also personally known survivors of violence and abuse who have shared their lived experiences, and their stories really affect me on a personal level as well, because I wanted to help protect them and countless others who have faced similar trauma.”
While entering her 3rd year as a Bachelor of Science student at the University of British Columbia and also majoring in Integrated Sciences, Vala graduated high school with a bilingual International Baccalaureate Diploma in English and French.
“Outside of BOLT Safety, I have had the opportunity to sharpen my leadership skills through involvement with other organizations,” she states. “For instance, I serve as an Officer at St. John Ambulance and the Co-Coordinator of the BC Heritage Fairs Society’s Provincial Alumni Council.”
With their organization having well over 20 volunteers with many different roles, Vala expresses the most valuable lesson she has learned is that you should always do your research, ask questions, and learn from the experts.
“As much as you may think you know it all, you don’t. And to quote Newton, we “stand on the shoulders of giants”. There are people who have paved the path to the present, learn from them and build on their work for a revolutionary future,” she shares. “You are not alone. Change making happens by joining hands with others, and the collaborative spirit is the way forward!”
To learn more information about Bolt Safety Society, check out their website below. boltsafety.org