Breakthrough India: Empowering Women Since 2000
Speaking out about gender issues is one thing, but actually being heard is another battle in its own. A myriad of organizations fight to raise awareness and reform societal norms surrounding gender issues. One of these award-winning organizations, Breakthrough India, is effectively getting through to society and transforming the trends we are all tired of watching persist.
An article published by The Hindu, discusses how young girls have “hopes” that are anything but ambitious in modern society. It discusses the example of a young girl, who was asked what her dreams were. She first hesitantly replies that she wants new clothes for Diwali, but the follow-up question, “But what about a long-term dream, a wish you wake up to every day and want to achieve?” She paused for a few minutes, was called by her friends, and left the question unanswered. This exemplified how little girls see in their future, even in the 21st century.
“transform social norms and the cultures that enable them. Its goals are to empower women and young girls through education, to save them from child marriages and domestic violence, and to end gender-based sex selection and sexual harassment.”
The organization’s roots are found in Indian-American activist Mallika Dutt’s album and music video on women’s rights, that topped Indian pop charts and won a national screen award for the best music video. Dutt realized the potential of using pop culture to rapidly and effectively raise social awareness.
The organization has progressed unbelievably, with offices in New Delhi and New York and operations in several northern Indian states.The major reason they have been able to reach out to a vast audience is the unique methodology they apply in their work. It is empirically proven that simply preaching does not work most of the time, so they work on having the people realize the problems themselves. One of the ways they do this, is, “video vans that travel to cities and villages, engaging residents in games and street theater that draw attention to violence against women.”
The organization has had several successful projects such as Bell Bajao (their first campaign), Selfies4School, and #StandWithMe. They started off focusing on violence against women, but have branched out to various issues like women’s education as well.
We need more organizations like this with a unique approach to truly bring about effective change in society. I can’t wait to see what else Breakthrough India has in store for us!