International Day of the Girl in India saw 11 states coming together in one action, with 11 demands and 11 champions recognized across 11 programme locations. This year marks the fifth anniversary of International Day of the Girl Child. The month of October will become the forerunner for the upcoming Caravan launches in UP and Rajasthan and December Public event under the gender based violence project. Through our efforts we will maintain the momentum by leveraging collaboration with Project Crossbow along the route through offline mobilisation till March 2018 (Srishti Bakshi of Crossbow is walking 3800 km for 260 days from Kanyakumari to Kashmir to make India safe for women and girls).
11 States 11 Girl Champions and 11 Demands: Our focus this year was to highlight and celebrate 11 champions and more at each event with 11 demands presented to the government officials of National and State significance across 11 states.
The 11 Girl Champions at national and state level were recognised and felicitated for their remarkable contribution for having transformed their own situation and impacting lives of others in the community, advocating on the various issues including access to education, ending child marriage.
Tu Bolegi, Tabhi Zamaana Badlega
A public event in the heart of the nation’s capital saw over 1000 people unite and raise their voice in support of gender equality and women’s safety. The evening was enriched by performances from theatre groups, a self- defense workshop by the Delhi police and an enthralling performance by India’s leading sand artist.
We partnered with Sashakt Foundation and the Delhi government to host the event with Hon’ble Manish Sisodia, Deputy Chief Minister, Delhi, as the chief guest along with other eminent personalities- Kailash Gahlot (Minister of Law & Justice, Delhi), Kamla Bhasin (Sangat, NGO), Swati Jaihind (Chairperson, DCW), Esha Pandey (DCP, Women cell, Delhi Police) and more, representing various agencies involved in the safety and upbringing of girls. The Deputy CM felicitated 11 Girl Champions for their efforts in impacting change and was presented with the 11 demands.
A month long campaign
UP launched a month long campaign kicked off on 25th September with the International Day of the Girl as a key moment, in collaboration with Gender Networks, Enforcement Agency and Media. Street plays were enacted to promote messages about violence against women to an audience of 300 followed by the felicitation of 11 Girl Champions. In this effort, 100 Policemen and 30 key stakeholders were engaged through sensitisation programmes on Gender Based Violence and the SOP for Children in Street Situations. The campaign aims to reach 6000 girls through a collaboration with Red Brigade through Self-defense trainings in 50 schools.
Against Gender Based Violence
An event on Gender based Violence was organised on the 11th of October in Hisar, attended by 135 participants including 60 Children, representatives from district administrations and other civil society organisations. Inaugurating the programme, Member, Haryana State Commission for Protection of Children Rights, Ms Deepa Jain, said, “Awareness and information can encourage and empower girls to protect their rights and dignity. Further, it is the responsibility of parents and stakeholders to ensure themselves in providing adequate space for children in terms of education, protection and participation.”
Female foeticide was one of key issues highlighted by the Children Champions including boys and girls. One of the key change through the efforts has celebration of the birth of a girl in the areas of our operation. This was followed by unfurling of 11 demands of girls and a signature campaign against gender based violence.
Speak-up, Say No to Violence Against Women and Girls
In Bhatinda, a collaboration with the US Embassy and Girl Rising led to an interactive engagement culminating with the felicitation of 11 young change makers from the programme. The Champions were the highlight with powerful speeches articulating their issues and solutions. The Chief Guest, Sakshi Sawhney (IAS), Govt of Punjab was impressed with the girls demands and acknowledged it as "a feat to be celebrated and seen as an achievement for child champions, Save the Children and all involved"
11 champions from each district of Punjab within the ‘Speak up Say No to Violence Against Women and Girls’ project were felicitated and they put forward 11 demands from girls in India.
International Peace Prize Nominee, Saleha Khan felicitated
‘Savitribai Phule Award Winner, and Ashoka Youth Venturer- Sahela has recently been nominated for the International Children’s Peace Prize. On International Day of the Girl,Saleha was felicitated by the Assistant Commissioner for her contribution in the field of girl child education, health and sanitation and building community resilience in Govandi, Mumbai.“I feel privileged to acknowledge Saleha for her courage, persistence and commitment shown for her community. She is an inspiration for all of us.” said Asst. Municipal Commissioner, Mr Kiran Dighavkah. Saleha handed over 11 universal demands of girls to the commissioner.
13th Knowledge Festival for Children
We collaborated with the 13th Knowledge Festival for Children in Guwahati. The theme of this year’s festival was Child Rights & Child Protection. Our Champions participated in a Book march as a flag off to the event. The event included 30 Child Representatives for and interaction with 10 elected representatives from Legislative Assembly on Children’s Rights. About 1000 children participated in the inauguration programme along with 500 parents, teachers, members civil society organizations, media and members of Anwesha
The platform recognized 11 Girl Champions for their leadership and contribution in empowering others.
To mark the International Day of the Girl, five girl champions were felicitated in West Bengal for their exceptional efforts to combat child marriage and child trafficking in their area. The girls interacted with Save the Children officials and shared their experiences and issues faced by their communities. The girl champions belong to different areas of West Bengal working on issues such as sanitation, child protection, health and child poverty. On this day they were recognized for their work and encouraged to continue representing the cause in their communities.
Interaction and handing over of demands to District Officials
In partnership with the District Administration, Rajasthan celebrated International Day of the Girl by felicitating 11 girl champions in Jodhpur and Tonk districts in the state. The Charter of 11 Demands of girls was presented to the District Collector who interacted with Girls and appreciated their demands, assuring full support and promising required action. The commemorative events included a number of activities at panchayat level with girls such as games and competitions on topics like child marriage and child protection.
The Power of Girls
To mark the day,455 adolescents participated in Cycle Rally which covered a distance of 32 km reaching approx 3000 people. A Convention on Child marriage was organized with more than 600 adolescents and approximately 100 other stakeholders including elected representatives, teachers, local policemen and community members. Two Jan Chetna Rath, (awareness vans) were flagged off by District Magistrate, Gaya and Deputy Development Commissioner, Sitamarhi from Collectriate premises. These vans will travel to 43 villages and reach more than 7000 people through a series of awareness activities. At the inaugural programme, 11 Girl Champions were facilitated by Deputy Development Commissioner for their commendable contribution towards the issue of Child Marriage under the ‘Marriage No Child’s Play” programme.
An event with 600 children each, was organised at two schools in West Singhbhum and Gumla district of Jharkhand. An Essay Writing Competition got over 250 children participation in Gumla and over 300 for the Drawing Competition in West Singhbum. District Collectors and District Education Officers felicitated of 22 Champions (11 in each district) for their exceptional work.
A gathering of 700 students took an oath to combat child marriage in Kandhamal District. Similarly in Naupada, 600 students and stakeholders gathered for a signature campaign to combat child marriage. Slogan Writing Competitions on the topic of child protection and child marriage in the two districts saw a total of 850 children participating from classes VI to XII. District Collectors and District Education Officers felicitated 22 Champions (11 in each district) for their exceptional work in combatting Child Marriage and trafficking.