Sex-ratio is a serious problem in India, and Haryana is one of the most problematic areas in this regard. It has been a long term endeavor of Breakthrough to work on this issue, and as a part of the effort, in 2014, Breakthrough came up with a network of youth clubs, called ‘Taaron Ki Toli’. These youth clubs were started in 150 government schools in Haryana across 4 districts. Under this program, we focused not just on gender equality but also on adolescent empowerment. The idea was that if we plants seeds of change in young people’s mind, then we demolish the underlying pillars of gender based discrimination that uphold the practice of Gender Biased Sex Selection.
Over the past one and a half years, our Implementation Team has diligently worked to make ‘Taaron Ki Toli’ a successful program. The findings of our M&E team show many case studies of students (from the program) who have made small positive changes in their lives, which, we hope, will have a ripple effect towards a larger change.
While Taaron Ki Toli was targeted at children to empower them and change gender-based discrimination, in 2016, Breakthrough decided to use the IVRS Radio as well, to target the parents of the children we were working with. The aim was not just to include the parents in our training program, but also to ensure reinforcement and revision of the lessons for the students.
We wanted to make the series a fun one, so, we decided to create two characters who will anchor and take the show forward. These characters were Santo and Amit, a brother-sister pair. Santo is the elder sister, studying in Delhi University (after fighting for it with her parents), and Amit is the younger brother, naughty and pampered. They have a fun equation with lots of sibling arguments and fights. Through their conversations and interactions, a lot of common notions on gender are brought out, but there is also a message that comes with each episode. As the series will progress, we plan to show how Amit becomes a part of the Taaron Ki Toli program in his school, and how he transforms in a very positive way.
The series went on air from 23rd May 2016. Here is the first episode. It is an introductory episode where we introduce the characters and touch upon the themes we will take up. Do give it a listen and share your comments.