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Bollywood divas Alia, Priyanka and Freida bat for Girl Rising

Aug 31, 2015

The Girl Rising campaign is partnering with non-profits working on behalf of girls across India and around the world.

Alia Bhatt S

Mumbai: The Girl Rising campaign for inspiring action for getting girls into classrooms got a big star boost when Bollywood beauties including Priyanka Chopra, Freida and Alia Bhatt joined ranks for the cause.

Nationwide, 25 percent of girls drop out by Class 5 and over 40 percent never make it to grade 10. Girl Rising is globally partnering with non-profits working on behalf of girls.

Girl Rising, a global movement for educating and empowering girls brings together the Government of India’s ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao’ campaign, USAID, STAR TV among others to inspire action that gets girls into classrooms nationwide.

Maneka Gandhi, India’s Minister for Women and Child Development, said that education provides the skills for girls to become informed citizens and helps them get their voice heard in the society.

Maneka said that happiness of a nation lies in the dignity of its daughters. “Dignity cannot come without education. After all, it is the education that sustains human values and prepares and forms the foundation for learning and critical thinking,” she said.

Priyanka Chopra said that educating girls can change the world in just one generation. “Major strides have been made toward universal primary education across India, but drastic inequalities at the secondary school level remain. If more girls are educated, all of India stands to gain. I cannot think of a cause today that is more important than ensuring girls have the same access to education as boys, giving them the opportunity to become women who can achieve their fullest potential,” she said.

Freida Pinto said that that storytelling and creativity can create behavioral change that is the first step in changing mindsets. “We aim to be disruptive with our ideas, swift with action and collaborative with our partners who share the same sentiment that ‘the time is now’,” she said.

“In India, there is a growing understanding that girls’ education is crucial to social and economic progress, and that there is an urgent need to break the status quo of gender discrimination. With support of the Prime Minister, the Ministry of Women and Child Development, USAID, business leaders and our media and technology partners, Girl Rising will elevate this message and transform it into a national movement that can ensure a promising future for girls,” Nidhi Dubey, Girl Rising India Country Director, said.

The campaign announced the premiere of its film ‘Girl Rising: Woh Padhegi. Woh Udegi.’ (She Learns. She Rises.) Directed by Academy Award-nominated director Richard E Robbins, the film tells the stories of eight extraordinary girls from around the world and features Priyanka Chopra, Freida Pinto, Madhuri Dixit, Alia Bhatt, Kareena Kapoor, Nandita Das, Sushmita Sen, Parineeti Chopra with narration by Farhan Akhtar and Amitabh Bachchan.

With support from USAID, Intel, The Documentary Group and Vulcan Productions, Girl Rising is going beyond the broadcast and working with partners to drive impact. The global initiative is collaborating with the public and private sectors in India to help communities understand the value of educating girls.

In Rajasthan and Bihar, community programmes are being launched in partnership with Save the Children. Screening kits of the film will be available online for companies, schools and non-profits to spark community conversations about girls education.

USAID Acting Administrator Alfonso Lenhardt said that education is one of the most critical areas of empowerment for girls, and it shouldn’t be a luxury. “When girls are educated, they lead healthier and more productive lives. They become better citizens, parents and breadwinners. That is why USAID is thrilled to bring these unforgettable stories to India through our partnership with Girl Rising,” he said.

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