Policeman uses Namola to #GetHelpFast

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Thabo*, a forensic detective that works for SAPS in the Northern Free State, was visiting one of the local police stations when part of the building caught on fire.

“There was something burning near the station, and I think the wind blew an amber into a Lapa structure that was connected to the building. It caught alight so fast and started to burn badly,” says Thabo. ”We knew that we couldn’t put it out on our own and we needed the fire department’s help.”

Thabo opened his Namola app and requested assistance. Seconds later, one of Namola’s Operators called to confirm the emergency.

Thanks to the relationships built with public emergency responders, Namola requested the help of a fire engine and 20 minutes later the fire department arrived. Luckily they managed to extinguish the fire in time to ensure that there was not too much damage to the police station itself.

“The police are a vital part of keeping people safe,” says the Response Operator. ”I knew that I had to get the fastest possible help to them so that they could continue to do their job. Even the police need a helping hand sometimes.”

No matter who you are, or where you are in South Africa, you can get help fast with Namola. If you do not have Namola on your mobile, download and test Namola now.

* name has been changed to protect the user’s privacy

Editorial: Women are standing up and getting help.

In all the Women’s Months that South Africa has celebrated over the years, I personally think that this has been the most effective one yet. It could be that Gender Based Violence has had a lot of exposure in the last year, but everyone seems to be waking up and smelling the coffee when it comes to Gender-Based Violence. There have been some great strides made for women. Initiatives like the #MeToo movement, which is a movement against sexual harassment and assault and more recently and locally the #TotalShutdown March are giving women a voice. We too are going pink in our support for the fight against Gender-Based Violence. What is very clear to see, especially this last month, is that woman are raising their voices and taking a stand against Gender-Based Violence.

As you will watch in this month’s success video, speaking up and telling your story is not something that you should be ashamed of. You are a survivor and it’s important to know that your strength could inspire another person to seek help.

Daily on social media, abused women, ask for help. Recently a tweet for help came from a lady, whose name was Yola. Her tweet read, “It’s not easy asking for help. But I have no choice. Please provide me with any advice on how to get the father of my child behind bars #justice. I am afraid that the police are not taking this matter seriously.”

 

Within a couple of hours, her tweet had gone viral. Over 1000 people commented, offering help, or telling her where she could get help. Her tweet was retweeted 17,000 times. Her response was emotional, to say the least. “Thank you so much to everyone that called, gave advice and commented positively. Now I know that I am not alone and already this matter is being handled. I don’t feel so weak anymore. There’s hope!” A very powerful message indeed, giving other victims of abuse courage to get help.

Here at Namola we’ve also seen the powerful impact that #TheTotalShutDown marches have had on abused women seeking help. Historically, slightly more men have signed up to Namola than women. However, after the various #TheTotalShutdown marches took place at the beginning of this month, nearly two-thirds (65.5%) of our sign-ups have come from women. We believe that #TheTotalShutdown especially has encouraged more women to empower themselves, which we are thrilled about.

With more women using Namola, we are actively expanding our database of partners to include shelters and counselling lines. To date, we’ve had [255] requests for assistance for Domestic Violence and [38] cases of rape. We know that the statistics for both of these incidents are alarming in South Africa, but knowing that women are becoming aware of Namola and what we do, they now have a place to report and get help.

Support around GBV has been extraordinary this month, with a huge focus on getting women help.  We need to remember, however, that GBV does not just affect women. It can affect men, children, the LBGT community as well as the elderly.

We still have a lot of work to do, to reach those who do not have access to any help or support and we need South Africa to help. South Africans no longer have to be silent bystanders; with Namola, we can get help, fast, on behalf of others. Be active in your community. Report abuse of any kind. We need to speak up for others who cannot help themselves. If you see it or hear it,  you can Namola it.

An emergency can be an incredibly harrowing and emotional experience. Having a real-life human being — not an automated service or someone putting you on hold — who is able to remove the emotion and the panic of the situation is exactly what you will need. Knowing that someone will take control and coordinate help, with a clear mind, is something you can count on in an emergency —- leaving you one less thing to worry about. Namola Agents will hold your hand through the emergency and will only close an incident once you and they are satisfied that you have the help that you need

Be prepared and proactive with your safety and read 5 safety tips to keep you safe. Tell your friends, tell your family to download Namola from your iPhone App Store or Android Play Store to get help fast in an emergency.

Yours in safety,

Claire

(Namola Superhero Supervisor)

Car thief caught after Namola sends help

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Mark woke around 3 am to his neighbour phoning. There were three guys at their security gate, trying to push it down to gain access. Again. Mark and his neighbours had a series of cars stolen in their complex. The thieves thought they were back for more, but not this time as Mark quickly requested assistance through his phone.

“My neighbour was trying to call 10111, but they were asking all sorts of unnecessary details,” says Mark. ”I had used Namola three weeks back to get help when I was on holiday. I knew the drill and requested assistance through the app.”

Like clockwork, seconds later Mark got a call from one of the Namola Response Centre Agents. He expressed the urgency of the incident and the Agent quickly got off the phone with Mark to coordinate the best possible help. 20 minutes later, the police arrived and apprehended one of the suspects.

“Thanks for a truly professional service this morning at 03h35. Police were dispatched and arrested 1 of 3 persons who broke into our complex before I had time to put my shoes on and go outside,” says Mark.

Thank you Mark for using Namola for your emergencies. You are a true testament to how Namola can get help fast, in an emergency.

Download @NamolaApp FREE

Are you in an abusive relationship? Download Namola — we’re here to help.

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It’s Women’s Month, yet we hear of the tragic suicide of Kensani Maseko, a student from Rhodes University who was allegedly raped by her then-boyfriend in May, we have to ask ourselves are we doing enough to keep the women of South Africa safe. For most women, abuse is a very slippery slope. In the beginning, it’s all sunshine and roses but before you know it his behaviour has changed. There are, however,  warning signs to look out for that help spot an abusive relationship, before it goes too far.

The following are behaviours that you should watch out for:

He is charming. All your friends love him.

He will want to commit — quickly. He will say that it’s love at first sight, that you are made for each other, and that he can’t imagine his life without you. He will sweep you off your feet, and tell you he has never loved anyone this much. He will insist on being exclusive right away, and will likely want to move in together, or even get married, very quickly. He needs you to love him and to belong to him. You may feel like the relationship is moving too quickly. Trust your instincts.

He’s controlling. He interrogates you intensely about who you talked to and where you were and insists you ask for permission to go anywhere or do anything

It’s all your fault. Abusers often feel sorry for themselves or make themselves the victim. He makes you feel as though his behaviour is your fault and that you owe him. He will make you think that no one loves you and that you are lucky to be with him.

There’s isolation. He tries to cut you off from family and friends. He will make you feel very guilty for wanting to spend time with others, or doing other things.

Cruelty to animals and children. He kills or punishes animals brutally. He also may expect children to do things beyond their ability or tease them until they cry.

Verbal abuse. He constantly criticizes you or says cruel things. He degrades, curses and calls you ugly names. He will use vulnerable points about your past or current life against you, but always apologise after and say that he will never do it again. He may even blame you for making him angry in the first place

Sudden mood swings. He switches from loving to angry in a matter of minutes.

History of abuse. He admits to hitting women in the past, but he blames them and the situation.

Violent threats. He makes statements such as, “I’ll break your neck,” but then dismisses it with, “I didn’t really mean it.”

Abuse is a vicious cycle. Abuse, forgiveness (promises that he never to do it again, buys gifts and then it starts again.

So what can you do if you or one of your friends are in a situation like this?

“Planning, planning and planning is what is needed,” says Cape Town psychologist, Ilse Terblanche. “Many women in abusive relationships are unaware of their rights and they have become very isolated from friends and family, which make up the usual support network. When things are really bad, a woman almost needs more strength to stay than to go.”

When you find yourself in this situation:

Call the experts. Contact Namola or a woman’s organisation such as GBV helpline. GBV is a free helpline that will be able to give you support, tell you what your rights are, give you counselling and suggest possible places to stay.

Call in support.  If possible make contact with family and friends. You will need support not only when you leave the abuser but it may also be helpful to have a couple of male friends or relatives to be there when you tell your abuser.

You deserve better. You deserve to be safe and respected. And you deserve real love, not control. If you or someone you know is being abused, you do not have to face it alone; request assistance with Namola – we’re here to help

Not sure if you are in an abusive relationship? Take this test https://psychcentral.com/quizzes/domestic-violence-quiz/

Download Namola FREE

 

Correcting rumours about Namola

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Rumour has it: If I fill in my personal information, my information will be sent to third parties and I will get a million spam calls

Namola: NEVER, EVER, will we EVER give your private information to third parties. Your personal information is only available to Namola agents when you request assistance and only for the period that your incident is open. It is there to ensure that we can get you the fastest help possible with the correct information in your emergency. We have been fully compliant with POPI (Protection of Personal Information) regulations from Namola’s conception.

Rumour has it: If I don’t force close my Namola App it will use all my data

Namola: Namola only uses a very small amount of data when you request assistance through the app. Switching your data off will mean that you will not be able to use Namola if you have an emergency. It will take the time that you may not have to switch on your data settings to get help with Namola.

Rumour has it: If I don’t force close my Namola App it will drain my battery

Namola: No it will not. The Namola app will only use a small amount of battery when you request assistance through the app. Force closing Namola will mean that it will take a couple of seconds more to open. In an emergency, those seconds are very valuable.

Rumour has it: If I leave my location settings on people may be able to track my phone. 

Namola: No. We will only be able to locate you when you request assistance through Namola. If your Namola App is not open and you have not held down the “Request Assistance” button, no one, not even Namola, will able to locate you. Read more questions on your location settings

Should you require information about Namola, please feel free to email support@namola.com

Download Namola FREE

Namola rescues lost driver

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Technology is a wonderful thing. Until it lets you down. Bulelani* was visiting Kwa-Zulu Natal on business and found himself lost in an unfamiliar and unsavoury area. Typically, in this situation, we would all reach for our smartphones and rely on a navigation app to get us to our destination. Bulelani did exactly this but, unfortunately, his device wasn’t picking up sufficient GPS services to navigate him to safety. On a whim, he used Namola.

“I was completely lost and did not feel comfortable getting out of my car,” says Bulelani. “I travel often and this is the first time that my navigation system has let me down.”

Bulelani received a call in a matter of seconds from a Namola Response Centre Agent. Although Bulelani’s navigation app couldn’t locate him, his request for assistance allowed Namola to pick up his GPS coordinates. The Response Centre Agent who called Bulelani back could see exactly where he was. Although this is not your typical Namola emergency, the Response Centre Agent on the end of the line was able to manually direct Bulelani out of the unfamiliar area and back on track to his business meeting.

“I am so grateful to that Agent. He remained calm and directed me to safety. He even followed up to ensure that I had reached my destination safely,” said Bulelani.

No emergency is predictable. Our service is not just limited to coordinating relevant emergency services. Namola is committed to ensuring that our Users get the fastest possible help in any situation that they deem to be an emergency. Namola is a dedicated team committed to problem-solving,  even in out-of-the-ordinary cases.

Keeping on your location permanently, could save your life and get you the fastest possible help in your emergency. Download Namola FREE to #GetHelpFast in any emergency in South Africa

*Bulelani’s name has been changed

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Fighting Femicide, together

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Reeva Steenkamp, Amanda Tweyi, Karabo Mokoena, Zolile Khumalo. These women have one thing in common, they were all killed by the hands of men. Men they trusted, their intimate partners. Sadly, they represent just a small majority of the women killed in South Africa’s frightening femicide statistics.

According to AfricaCheck, South Africa’s femicide rate is 5 times higher than the global rate. Between April and December 2016, the police recorded a total of 14,333 murders. Of these, 1,713 were women.

“The time has come for South Africans to speak up on behalf of each other. With emergency responders stretched thin, helping to fight these frightening statistics starts with us. If we can create a community whereby, instead of filming, walking or scrolling by we could report incidents, fast, wouldn’t that be the first step into making South Africa a safer place for all?” says Peter Matthaei, CEO of Namola, a free mobile safety app that allows South African citizens to Get Help Fast in emergency situations.

”With Namola, ordinary citizens now have the power to get help fast in an emergency situation where they would normally not want to get involved. We no longer have the excuse to ignore cries for help,”says Matthaei.

Dialdirect offer the following tips to report assistance with Namola on behalf of someone else:

Assess the urgency of the situation. Before you report an emergency, make sure the situation is genuinely urgent. Namola categorises emergencies into four types; Crime, Medical, Accidents and Fire.

Location, Location, Location. The most important piece of information you will need when you request assistance on behalf of someone else is their location. If you are using Namola to request assistance, they will be able to know where you are via your GPS location. If you have received a request for help and are not at the scene of the incident, ensure you have an address and/or a landmark that will help emergency responders locate the person in need of assistance.

Attention to detail. You may not want to get involved in the incident itself, but you should try and provide as many details of the incident as possible.

Dialdirect Insurance also offers information on what you will need to provide if you are reporting an incident on behalf of someone else:

Reporting a crime. Try and get a physical description of the person committing the crime. If this is a case of abuse, try and set the scene of the crime. For example, is there a history to the crime, does the perpetrator know the victim.

Reporting a medical emergency. What symptoms the person in the emergency is displaying.

“The more information one is able to provide, the better prepared the person co-ordinating the help will be to assist,” concludes  Matthaei.

Make sure that you #GetHelpFast. Download Namola FREE.

Hostages get help, fast!

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Natalie* was taking stock in the back when she heard a commotion in her store on a Friday afternoon. Four armed men entered her shop in Germiston. She had three staff and ten customers in her shop. Luckily Natalie had not been spotted by the intruders and managed to hide herself in the mezzanine storeroom. Natalie had recently watched a video on Namola’s YouTube Channel that had showed her how to use Namola. She remembered from the video that she needed to answer the Response Centre Agents call in order for them to know what type of help she needed. Natalie cleverly switched her phone on silent,  requested assistance through Namola and waited for the Response Centre Agent to call.

Namola’s Response Centre Agent responded to Natalie’s call in a matter of seconds, and upon hearing the hushed yet urgent tones of Natalie’s voice, realised Natalie was in serious danger and was unable to talk. “I was so scared to speak,” says Natalie. ”I could hear the intruders right outside and I was terrified that they would hear me. Once I had answered the phone call quietly, I then made use of the chat feature to ensure that I could be as quiet as possible. I was able to stay in contact with the Response Centre Agent, who informed me that the police were on their way.”

Natalie watched helplessly from her hiding place as customers entered her shop and were rounded up by the intruders into a hostage situation. Watching this robbery unfold was not the only thing that Natalie could see. She could also make out the registration of the getaway car and managed to text it through to the Response Centre Agent on the Namola chat feature.

Although only ten minutes had passed, it felt like forever until she heard the sound of police sirens in the distance. Natalie was not the only one that heard the police sirens, and scared of being caught, the intruders made a dash for freedom, leaving behind some very relieved and unharmed staff and customers in the shop.

“I am telling everyone I can about Namola. Namola was quick and efficient and got SAPS on scene when I could not get through to 10111,” says Natalie. “Even when I was unable to talk, we could communicate via texting. Thank you so much!”

  • Users name has been changed

Safe travels with Namola

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The June holidays are here. If you are planning a road trip, you will need to be extra careful. During school holidays in South Africa road accidents increase dramatically as thousands of people make their way across the country to various destinations.

If you are a parent, then you’ll know that driving with kids in the car can be a huge distraction and impair your concentration. Distracted drivers are unsafe drivers; the more time you spend solving fights, bargaining with your kids or looking in the rear-view mirror, the less time you’re devoting to monitoring traffic.

International studies show that nearly 25% of crashes occur when drivers are dealing with kids in the back seat. Many kids get bored on long road trips, sometimes fight with each other and need stimulation in order to keep them settled and happy. This is normal behaviour when it comes to children, but is problematic on the road.

Being on road during a peak traffic holiday period increases the chances of accidents happening. Add to that the stress of travelling with kids and it’s essential to take extra care. Here are some good suggestions for driving more safely with children:

  • Set expectations. Lay out the rules in advance by telling your kids ahead of time how you expect them to behave. Share the agenda with them and explain the family rules. For example, you might say you’ll be driving from 9 am to 4 pm and stopping for a picnic lunch around noon. Each person can choose music for an hour, and you’ll take away the toys of any child who misbehaves.
  • Keep focused. Whatever is going on with your kids in the car, it’s your duty to keep your concentration on the road. If there is another adult in the car, then let them take on the responsibility of dealing with the children and their needs.
  • Be prepared. Pack lots of entertainment and toys. DVD players, music, audiobooks, iPads and other tablets can go a long way to keeping them occupied during the journey. For younger children try stickers and other little toys to keep them happy.
  • Play games. Old school games like ‘I spy’ and other interactive, guessing games can keep the mood lighthearted and the kids entertained so brush up on some of these.
  • Pack lots of snacks and water. Sometimes bad behaviour is a result of hunger or low blood sugar. Healthy travelling snacks are pretzels, dried fruit and crackers. Save the junk food for desperate scenarios!
  • Make regular stops. Stop for the toilet and for the children to be able to run around, stretch and let off some steam. This will prevent cabin fever and boredom. Having fun on unplanned stops makes the drive much more exciting.
  • Avoid losing your temper. Going crazy is only going to increase the stress of everyone in the car.
  • Reward good behaviour. Using incentives such as no complaining for the next hour means a stop at an ice cream stand. Or leaving your sibling alone gets some one-on-one time with Mom or Dad in the pool. A whine-free morning means picking where to eat for lunch. Use this strategy in reverse, too.

 

Interview with celebrity Sharika Soal

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Sharika Soal is a celebrity publicist in Los Angeles, who is passionate in the fight against women and child abuse. Sharika’s concern about the number of women being murdered and going missing in South Africa caused her to send a tweet to her South African followers, urging them to download Namola. Her message was retweeted over 10,000 times. We decided to catch up with the lady behind the twitter page @LadyThriller69.

NamolaApp: Hi Sharika, you are based in the States, can you tell us how you heard about Namola and what made you tweet South African women?

Sharika Soal: I have a large south African following and the African women I follow started to talk about missing women and raped women in African countries I started to become very upset because I saw that Americans were not paying attention to how many women were coming up missing daily in my newsfeed.

60 women  kidnapped in 30 days is atrocious  and so I began to tweet about the frustration that women in Africa were being slaughtered and no one cared and someone told me to look up your company and I instantly knew I had to put this on twitter to teach my Africa followers how to spread the word to protect themselves

NamolaApp: You mention in your twitter feed that you were abused as a child. Is this something that fuels your passion for the fight against women and child abuse?

Sharika Soal: Yes my father molested me from a very young age. I, therefore, feel very protective of people who need to call for help and can’t. This is why Namola means so much to me. I could never dial 911 in front of my mom or dad, an app like this would have saved my life.

NamolaApp: Femicide and abuse against women is a huge problem in the world, but particularly South Africa. How do you think Namola would be able to help women or girls in these situations.

Sharika Soal: I know the app is crucial to survival. Your app allows poor vulnerable men and women have a lifeline to tell anyone they were in trouble whereas if they did not have your app may be the situation of immediate danger would not allow them to actually dial the police or make obvious movements that they are using their phone. It is a discreet way of alerting someone that you are in danger

NamolaApp: Do you have any safety advice for girls and women in South Africa?

Sharika Soal:  Never get in a car with someone you don’t know and even if you feel like you can trust a man and his friends do not ever go anywhere alone with any man without letting people know where you went and bring a friend on all blind dates and meet in public spaces. This goes for men too.

NamolaApp:  If you could send women in South Africa one message, what would it be?

I will always do what I can to speak about the issues South African women face as they have been so very kind and open with me so I consider them family and to remember we are more powerful than we think and can accomplish great things if we just believe.

You can download Namola FREE on any smartphone