As I handle public relations for Breakthrough, I had been working on getting media coverage for the walkathon from a month before that, visiting media houses, talking to journalists and making press releases. Although I knew I could anticipate a good number of crowd to participate in the walkathon because of what I knew about the issue and the campaign, I wasn’t very sure of what exactly to expect at the venue. I wasn’t sure about the depth of understanding the school children, who were to participate, had about the issue.
When we reached the spot where the walkathon was to start from, I was happily surprised with the arrangements. It was amazing to see the efforts that had been put by the on-ground team to organize the venue arrangements. I saw a quiet queue of girls waiting for their teachers’ instructions to sit down and watch what Breakthrough had for them.
Still not sure of how the event would turn out, while media slowly started showing up, I began with my business of interacting with journalists and taking down their contact numbers back stage. It must have been 15 minutes since the program started, that I heard a big roar of laughter from the girls. Literally roaring! A curious me quickly walked towards the front row of the audience to see what got the kids so excited and I discovered that it was a street play.
The street play, titled “Badal Raha Ghamandi” is the story of a couple having their second child, with the first child being a daughter. the neighbor, Ghamandi tries with all his might to ask them to first detect the sex of the foetus and then to curb the opportunities of the daughters born, but the family manages to lead by example.. With every act in the play that indicated or questioned women’s rights, the girls cheered, clapped and roared like they owned it. Watching the energy the girls displayed, I was very impressed with the understanding of the issue that these students showed.
Once the starting ceremony of the walkathon got over and the girls took to streets, it was a sight I wished everyone in this country saw. The girls, 1200 in number, walked on the streets wearing bright red Mission Hazaar t-shirts and caps with their heads held high up in pride, shouting slogans, asking for equal rights for daughters. The girls got traffic to a halt with people watching them in awe as they displayed placards in their hands, asking for girls to be educated and right to live a free life of will. As I walked along with them, it seemed like the 2 km walk was nothing for them in front of the issue that they had taken up. I heard them shout slogans, and it literally gave me goose bumps.
The girls that I perceived as naïve all this while suddenly started to look bigger and wiser to my eyes, I felt small in front of the strength they displayed and enthusiasm they had. In a moment I realized that when I sit here far away in Delhi, seldom going to the field, little do I understand the depth of the impact our work has.
This incident, which I can easily call an eye opener for myself, changed me. Not that I had a different belief of what we are collectively fighting for, it is just that perhaps I failed to realize the potential of these young hearts, their ideas, their understanding and their power. While I salute the on-ground team that works on the field interacting with real people who constitute the basic elements of the issue being the oppressors and the oppressed, I would also like to salute the young brave hearts who are the future and the other teams as well, as this wouldn’t have happened without the required research we do, the products we design and how innovatively we use technology and media. These girls who would grow up to be decision makers one day, and with what I saw and experienced, I can truly sense a bright future for India with this army of sensible generation that Breakthrough is tirelessly working on creating.