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Teenage girls want to help victims of domestic violence in Albania with new app

Girls checking the app on their mobile phones. Photo by GjejZâ, used with permission

Three teenage girls have joined efforts to help victims of domestic violence in Albania, where one in every two women suffers from violence.

Arla Hoxha, Dea Rrozhani, and Jonada Shukarasi — known as the “D3c0ders” — created the mobile application GjejZâ (which means “find your voice” in Albanian). It connects survivors of domestic violence to important resources, including shelters, police and support groups.

The app also offers information on gender-based violence, inspirational stories of women who have overcome a violence situation, and breathing and meditation exercises.

The app is available to download on the Google Play store.

The girls learned to code and create applications over the past four years through an initiative by the U.S. Embassy in Tirana, as explained in a Youtube video in Albanian and English.

One in every two women suffer from violence in Albania, Iris Luarasi, the head of a national hotline for abused women, has told Reuters, citing a 2018 survey. The survey adds that 4,000 cases of domestic violence were reported in the same year.

Luarasi herself is one of the supporters of the app:

The 2018 research, which was supported by United Nations agencies, found that 52.9 percent of the 3,443 Albanian women surveyed have experienced at least one of five different types of violence during their lifetime, while 18.1 percent have experienced sexual violence. The women surveyed were between 18 and 74 years old.

The three teenagers made headlines when they won an award in the Technovation Challenge competition.

More recently, they have been nominated for another award:

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