Empowerment group launches safety alarms

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Pretoria - Two innovative safety alarms were launched in Pretoria on Tuesday to fight crime, the Gauteng economic development department said.

“The Memeza Women Empowerment Project developed a small key ring that is a loud personal safety alarm and a household community safety alarm,” spokeswoman Phindile Kunene said.

The small key ring alarm was operated by pulling on a lanyard.

“The alarm emits an oscillating sound at 140 decibels,” Kunene said.

The household community alarm works on a pay-as-you go alarm system with airtime pooling and a long battery life.

It was suitable to be used in rural areas and could be charged using solar energy at local community centres.

Kunene said the alarm system was cellphone enabled.

“The Memeza household community alarm emits a unique three-phased siren to alert the community of intrusions.

“The house is easily identified by a flashing red light and alert SMS messages are sent to the cellphones of the police, community crime initiatives and patrollers as well as pre-selected family, neighbours and friends,” she said.

The alarms were developed by Memeza Women Empowerment Project director Thuli Mthethwa.

She developed the device after her family was violently attacked in their home in Tembisa.

“When you look at the Memeza personal alarm system, what you see is a colourful key ring or an innovative safety system, but what I see is a tool for empowerment, a way for potential victims of crime to alert the community around them should they be in trouble,” MEC for economic development Mxolisi Xayiya said.

He said the project was a true representation of social innovation and social entrepreneurship.

The Memeza Women Empowerment Project distributed 10 000 personal alarm devices in March.

The alarms were distributed to women and children in Diepsloot, Tembisa, Soshanguve, Eldorado Park, Ivory Park, and Ebony Park.

The donation was made possible by funding from the National Lottery.

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