Human trafficking is a pervasive problem around the world –every year, millions of adults and children become victims of human trafficking. Human trafficking disproportionately affects women, with women and girls making up 70% of known trafficking victims, according to UN estimates. Girls in particular face increasing rates of trafficking – in 2017, 23% of victims were girls under 18, compared to 21% in 2014. Daily activities are risky – commuting to school or work, running errands, walking in your neighborhood – all of these activities necessary to being a member of a community are threatening. The failure of local laws to protect women make it worse. So citizens are stepping up. Meet Aruzhan, a young woman from Kazakhstan (which, in 2014, did not report any laws against sexual violence to the World Health Organization) who is fighting for a safer world for women and girls.
QamCare: Caring for a community in danger
Aruzhan created QamCare, an SOS app designed to help people stay safe with geo-location features and an emergency call feature. In describing the inspiration behind QamCare Aruzhan explained to the BBC – “In Kazakhstan, four people go missing every day, 1,500 get lost every year. So we thought ‘Why wouldn’t we create an app that at least would help start finding these people from their last location?'” Aruzhan and her Technovation Girls team developed a prototype of QamCare in 2017 and won first place at the world pitch championship event. Since then, they’ve continued to work on QamCare, bringing it to market in 2018 – and last year QamCare helped rescue a kidnapping victim.
Aruzhan is passionate about making girls and women safer – not only in her neighborhood or even her country, but around the world. Her vision for the future of QamCare includes multiple language options and location features that work globally. Aruzhan describes herself as a “science girl” who wants to show other girls how fun science can be. But she also recognizes that gender inequality is an enormous problem, which she has also personally faced in school. But Aruzhan has confidence – in herself, her intelligence, her ability to learn new skills and explore new topics as well as in her ideas to use technology for good.
Aruzhan and her team are stepping up to fill in the gaps created by local lawmakers, and fighting for a safer, fairer future for girls and women in their community, and around the world.
What kind of world will you fight for?
Aruzhan and her team members built the prototype for QamCare as part of Technovation Girls which invites girls everywhere to pick a problem they care about, and solve it using technology. Registration is open for the 2020 Technovation Girls season – join today and start your own journey to use technology for good, in the ways you want to see it used. If you’re an adult, you can register as a mentor, where you’ll connect with girls like Aruzhan and her teammates, and help guide them on their journey with programming and entrepreneurship.