Rebecca Winthrop Director and Senior Fellow, Center for Universal Education
India’s Daughters Campaign 2015 raises the voices of those who are on the frontline of the learner’s experience: teachers and students—And, engages civil society and girls’ education leaders in the discussion on the importance of providing a safe space for girls and boys to learn.
Involving all actors in this discussion and building awareness of the detrimental effects of school-related gender-based violence is an important first step in identifying what a safe learning environment for girls in India means and what steps need to be taken to get there. Ensuring a safe space for girls has shown to have a positive influence on their school attendance, completion and on their overall learning outcomes—which benefit a society as a whole.
कुछ सपने हैं अभी अधूरे-से,
पूरा उनको भी करने दो..!
बेरंग-से उनके जीवन में,
खुशियों के रंग उभरने दो..!!
हैं छोटे उनके पंख तो क्या,
ऊँचे आकाशों में उड़ने दो..!
अरमाँ हैं जो छोटे-से दिल में,
उनको और मचलने दो..!!
चलते हैं बेटों से वंश अगर,
तो बेटी भी उसका अंश है..!
जीवन देकर बेटी को भी,
वंश-बेलों सा बढ़ने दो..!!
मत बाँधो पाँव में जंजीरें,
न रोको उनकी राहों को..!
है अधिकार उनका भी यह तो,
उन्हें शिक्षा के पथ पर चलने दो..!!
अज्ञानता के अंधकार में,
उन्हें ज्ञान-प्रकाश भरने दो..!
सफलताओं की मंजिल पाने को,
उनको भी पढ़ने-बढ़ने दो..!!
In this patriarchal setup, there is one thing that demands immediate attention. “Perception of women” is something that calls for change and needs social reforms. The one thing that is promising enough to bring about such a change is education. With education comes exposure, confidence and independence. It broadens the horizon and gives a girl the “power of choice” – the choice to be independent, self reliant and fearless. Women are most often looked down upon and subjugated in many families, it is about time that it changes! From simple decisions such as what to wear, when to eat and when to move out of the house to big ones such as who to marry and whether to work or not, are all taken by their male counterparts. Education develops confidence and self esteem among women and gives them the power to make decisions on their own- big our small. At the end, it all comes down to the only question- ” Are we going to be a part of this change or are we going to resist it?”
Ms. Sydney Howe Cross-Cultural Communication Educator
I stand in solidarity with India’s Daughters from Munich, Germany.
I led students at Study Hall Educational Foundation (SHEF) (Vidyasthali School and Prerna Girls School) as they made short films about girls’ rights to education and safety. Those films, along with others made by the students are available on the internet, and have been seen by audiences around the world. However, the largest audiences of these short films are not in India or in the US: often, much of the view count comes from Saudi Arabia, where the films, even though they were uploaded years ago, continue to be viewed via YouTube.
India’s Daughters will travel even further. The world is watching you, and supporting your quest for equal rights. Your voices are heard through your art, not only in places that already support basic human rights for women, but in places where many women do not yet realize that they have rights at all. You are creating real change in India, and inspiring people in other places where women are fighting for their right to education, healthcare, and safety.
At co-educational Vidyasthali, the students voted unanimously to dedicate their film to a female classmate who had been pulled out of school and married off in the middle of the previous year. The group that wrote that film was composed of both boys and girls. These young men vehemently support equal rights for women too. They can see clearly how much better their own lives would be if women had equal human rights. In the film, the students made it abundantly clear what they think the first course of action should be to right these wrongs: allow India’s girls to attend school and graduate. With India’s Daughters, the voices of the remarkable young women and men of SHEF will be heard nationally.
Changing Girls’ Lives
Click here to learn more about Ms.Howe’s perspective on patriarchy in India or copy the link below
Bas ek baar kehdo k padho likho aage badho
Lehro k tarah kehdo k aur uncha utho
Aasman k tarah kehdo k aao mujhe chu lo
Parindo k tarah kehdo k dil kholke udho
Bas ek baar kehdo k padho likho aage badho
Unn school ki sidiyaan hame bhi chadhne do
Doctor engineer pilot afsar hame bhi banne do
Bhudhape ki laathi ka matlb hame bhi samajhne do
Bas ek baar kehdo ke padho likho aage badho