PEACE ARCH NEWS- With Project LyghtNyng, youth-led BOLT Safety Society aims to end violence, harassment, abuse

Tom Zillich, Peace Arch News

2022/11/08

Group co-founder Vedanshi Vala was given Surrey Board of Trade’s Top 25 Under 25 award in 2021

A youth-founded organization aims to end violence, harassment and abuse in Surrey and well beyond.

Leaders of the new BOLT Safety Society note United Nations research that suggest one in three women globally have experienced physical or sexual violence in their lifetimes.

“Nationally, intimate partner violence is the most common kind of violence women experience,” says a news release from BOLT, a federally-registered not-for-profit.

“Despite such an alarming status quo, there remains a lack of education on topics pertaining to personal safety and well-being, fostering cultures of consent, and awareness about available support systems and resources. At BOLT Safety Society, young advocates are working on a solution to ratify this knowledge gap.”

They’ve launched Project LyghtNyng to help end violence, harassment and abuse, through community-focused programming, as a paid service. Rates start at $60 for online workshops, $200 in-person.

“You could say BOLT Safety is a tech-startup meets non-profit, whereby we centralize a database of survivor-centric resources and on-the-ground programming onto our digital platform, available through a mobile app or any web browser”, said Vedanshi Vala, BOLT’s executive director and co-founder.

With Project LyghtNyng, a series of educational workshops aims to decrease violence and abuse through informing a culture of consent, promoting inclusion by flipping victim-blaming narratives, increasing access to resources and fostering allyship.

Ultimately, it’s about educating people to empower safety, says Vala, a recipient of Surrey Board of Trade’s Top 25 Under 25 award in 2021.

Project LyghtNyng features workshops on a variety of topics, customizable by audience demographic. In October, the launch event was attended by educators, representatives from other non-profits and community members keen on seeing their program succeed.

“According to the UN, in 2021, 81,000 women and girls were killed. This means that every 11 minutes, 1 woman or girl was killed. Our event today is two-hours long”, said Shreyanshi, BOLT’s operations director and manager of Project LyghtNyng.

Still in the early stages, Project LyghtNyng has delivered workshops in two countries, to seven organizations and to more than 150 participants, with more signed up.

So far, clients include YWCA Metro Vancouver, St. John Ambulance, UBC Campus Lightbox, RCMP National Youth Advisory Committee, Richmond Multicultural Community Services (RMCS), The Princess Diya Kumari Foundation and Alpha Gamma Delta International Fraternity.

The BOLT team looks forward to spreading awareness and educating everyone on preventing abuse, harassment and sexual violence. Any organization, institution or company can book a workshop. Those interested in bringing a safety educational workshop to their place of work or schooling can visit boltsafety.org/workshops to learn more and book a workshop.