Each year Harmony Foundation identifies a theme that highlights the need of the hour in the world. Last year in 2017 our theme was ‘Compassion Beyond Borders- A Compassionate Response to the Refugee Crisis’ with a special focus on refugee children. Building up on last year’s theme, this year we want to reach out to a large chunk of population who is overlooked, ignored and sometimes even forgotten- the GIRL CHILD!
Harmony Foundation has earmarked the year 2018 to be the year of India’s ‘tryst with destiny’ by supporting the Prime Minister of India’s social campaign ‘Beti Bachhao, Beti Padhao Yojana’ (which means: Save the Girl Child, Educate the Girl Child) which is setting into motion the UN Women’s “Planet 50-50 by 2030: Step It Up for Gender Equality”.
The Foundation’s theme for 2018 is ‘Celebrate Her, Protect Her, Empower Her’ and thus, focuses on the myriad number of issues & challenges the Girl Child face, and the significant manner and ways they can be empowered and uplifted from these major obstacles and oppressive conditions. These unendurable and oppressive conditions are like a ‘shared space’ for many women who undergo similar experiences of such subjugation all over the world, yet are located in their respective cultural background and reality. With this in mind, our focus and vision is not only on the issues centric to the Girl Child in the Indian context, but by perceiving and highlighting these issues on a pan, global context as well. We seek to explore on the conditions wherein the Girl Child all over the world are subjected to such repressive conditions of inequalities and how they have been empowered and can be empowered through other novice ways. We envision a world which empowers every Girl Child since their empowerment is a major impetus for a global world empowerment.
Under the backdrop of this year’s theme, we aspire to work diligently by creating awareness and conducting campaigns to eradicate issues centering around the Girl Child at large. Oppression and subjugation begin right from her birth and continues to hamper her life in varied ways. ‘Patriarchy’ is one of the major impetus which gives rise to conditions of female subjugation. We thus envision to free her from the clutches of this hegemonic patriarchal structure and aspire to ‘celebrate, protect and empower’ the daughters of our nation since a number of times her dignity, self-respect and basic rights are violated when she is sexually abused, raped and murdered. Long before she could realize and make sense of why this happens to her, her childhood is ripped from her which leaves a lifelong scar on her, her life, and her family. It is sad to imagine that sometimes it is her own family which thrusts such violence on her. Either way or the other, the girl child and our daughters suffer at the hands of those who dominate her, oppress her and subjugate her to an extent that her entity is compromised on multiple levels. In the wake of the recent events in Kathua, Unnao, Surat and Etah of minor girls being raped and brutally murdered, it is indeed critically important to spread the message of the general safety of women all over India irrespective of their age. Crimes like trafficking are another one of those heinous realities which exploits women and the girl child of not only India but is a pan global phenomenon. Young girls, women and children are trafficked, ridiculed and their basic rights are violated across borders. This rips them of their basic right to life which is the modern form of slavery.
We thus aspire to reach every citizen of India and the world to spread the message, raise their sensitivities, and awaken their consciousness to fight back against such atrocities which crush and exploit the daughters of our nation. We aspire to build a society and a world which collectively fights back against such loathsome, heinous crimes which exploits the daughters of not only our nation but beyond borders. We commend the efforts of those numerous organizations and NGOs which have been working arduously to eradicate and fight back against such crimes since their efforts shed light on the fact that we as a sensitized society are capable of putting an end to such crimes if we rise against them collectively. These crimes are not an example of some isolated condition but it largely affects the entire society and thus, we seek to spread the message to everyone that we as a society need to hold our hands together and repress such conditions which demean our daughters. We need to build a society together wherein the daughters of our nations feel secured and safe, and are empowered to lead a beautiful life.
At Harmony Foundation, we seek to put an end to such discriminatory practices which intersects caste, class, religion, ethnicity and cultural diversity. This year, we aim to progress immensely on this front by protecting and empowering the girl child. The drawbacks and uncertainties in life that a girl child faces in her childhood, later on impact her adulthood. Empowering the girl from the very outset, empowers her throughout her lifetime and makes her self- reliant. The progress of a nation rightly depends on the holistic development of the girl and women.
We are aiming to highlight this discourse of protecting and empowering the Girl Child by celebrating and commemorating the achievements and progress of those women all over the world who have overcome the hindrance of oppression right from their childhood and have paved a way of success. Their life stories and narratives are a great source of inspiration and have a major contribution in empowering the world at large. Their stories have set a major benchmark for everyone and to acknowledge the fact that it is only the situations which hinder progress and given the right kind of direction as early as possible, one can overcome many perplexities of life.
This year we are celebrating “The GIRL’’, who aspires to fly high, who aspires to reach the state of contentment in her life by achieving the success she aims through her empowerment. Empowerment brings in an intricate nexus: empowerment of the Girl Child is a major catalyst for empowering the women which in turn encompasses the empowerment of the world at large. We envision and visualize a world which is inclusive in its nature: a world which Celebrates the Girl Child, Protects the Girl Child, Empowers the Girl Child.