My story : Carmiña Santamaria

Three years ago a close friend of mine was kidnapped in broad daylight just after leaving the airport in Bolivia. The news on her disappearance became viral in less than 3 days, forcing the kidnappers to let her go. Although they dropped her off on the side of the road drugged and disoriented, she was lucky after all. Fortunately she was able to make it back home, but I couldn’t help but think that this can happen to anybody, anywhere.

My name is Carmina Santamaria, and I am the CEO of Kwema. After this shocking story took place, I started to look into the facts; over 15,000 women have been kidnapped in Mexico alone in the last few years. However, kidnapping is only one extreme case of violence. Official reports tell us that 1 out of every 3 women suffer from physical or sexual violence worldwide. In Mexico, that number doubles to 2 out of 3, which is absolutely unacceptable.

I was desperate to find a solution. One day while sitting with Ali, our co-founder, we started to brainstorm different ideas on how we can combat kidnaping and other forms of gender-based violence in order to make women feel more safe. Looking down at the jewelry on my wrist, I realized this is the one thing I always carry with me. From that moment, Kwema was born. We designed a personal safety system that allows women around the world to call for help in a discrete and easy manner.  

The Kwema bracelet is so smart that it doesn’t even look like a device, but like a piece of jewelry. We want women to feel safe again; we believe that having a safety companion that is discrete, easy to activate, and fashionable will make all the difference in a women’s life.


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