New Delhi (Delhi) [India], October 13 (ANI/NewsVoir): Room to Read's Phase-II of its nationwide campaign called #Harkadambetikesang: Leadership ki Tarang 2021, which started on 28th September '21, displayed solidarity with girl students across the country in the light of the upcoming International Day of the Girl Child on the 11th of October '21. Phase I of the campaign was implemented in July earlier this year, and phase II culminated on 12th October '21 across 6 Indian States. A series of online and offline activities were implemented in Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Telangana, and Uttarakhand.
Throughout the campaign, key offline and online activities included government and community activations and spreading awareness for girls' education and gender equality through television broadcast, 93.7 Big Fm, Podcast series 'Hausle Ki Dagar', among other unique initiatives to reach out to the masses through engaging content and audio jingles. In Delhi, the campaign catered to more than 13,000 stakeholders, including Girls' Education Program (GEP) scholars, non-GEP scholars, teachers, principals, Anganwadi workers, SMC members, Shiksha Mitra, etc. With the reopening of schools in September 2021, most activities were conducted across the 11 schools of GEP interventions. Leadership-based debates with GEP and Non-GEP scholars in 4 schools. Exhibition walks were performed in all schools to share leadership stories and the leadership thoughts of scholars. Wall paintings have also been done in the community and school spaces with maximum footfall to ensure the message spreads across the wider community.
The core agenda of the campaign was to acknowledge and celebrate the efforts of girls as in the post-pandemic world, their challenges have increased exponentially, but even during these trying times, they have shown tremendous courage, resilience, and demonstrated leadership skills. One of the campaign's main objectives was to create awareness among parents, teachers, and community members to support girls' education.
In Chhattisgarh, the campaign was supported by the Government of Chhattisgarh, including the Department of Education and Tribal Welfare Department. Room to Read ensured girls have access to learning opportunities, enhancing their leadership skills, and creating awareness among the communities to meet their specific needs. DD Chhattisgarh and 94.3 My FM platform were utilized to reach the masses through engaging content and audio jingles. As the campaign geared up across the states, the girls, their parents, and community members came forward to create awareness by organizing rallies and community events adhering to the COVID-19 protocols. Women from local communities led the rallies on two-wheelers and tractors to disseminate the campaign message to create greater community awareness and encourage girls' leadership. During these awareness rallies, adolescent girls were motivated to set their goals and achieve them by overcoming their insecurities. The young girls broke gender stereotypes and rode a tractor to set an example for the audience.
Room to Read interacted with various GEP school teachers, students, and Headmasters, in person and over calls, oriented them on the campaign, and requested them to join the movement by providing support in promoting girls' education, recognizing the leadership qualities appreciated girls for continuing their education. Further, in Telangana, the Room to Read disseminated the campaign materials via WhatsApp to all the GEP scholars, Teachers, and various govt. officials across 33 districts. Discussions were undertaken with the local community by organizing talk shows with parents on the importance of girls' education and how to support children in sending them back to schools once they reopen. The meetings were conducted in both virtual mode and in-person.
Room to Read also organized student well-being workshops with Life-skills trained teachers to support children once they return to school.
Towards the end of the campaign, the webinar was organized on the International Day of the Girl Child on 11th October '21 - The key speakers present in the
1. Keynote Address - A Global Perspective on Girls' Education: Stephenie Foster, Partner at Smash Strategies, former Senior Advisor and Counselor to the Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women's Issues US Department of State
2. Special Address: Lucina Di Meco, Senior Director, Girls' Education Program, Room to Read
3. Panel Discussion: Girls' Education: Driving Leadership in 21st Century
a. Sunisha Ahuja, Education Specialist, UNICEF
b. Dr. Poonam Agrawal, Professor and former Head, Department of Gender Studies, NCERT, New Delhi
c. Dr. Krishna Menon, Professor, School of Human Studies, Dr. BR Ambedkar University, Delhi
d. Sonam, Girls' Education Program Scholar, Grade 11th, New Delhi
4. Closing Remarks: Puja Trisal, Program Operations Director, Room to Read India
"With #Harkadambetikesang: Leadership ki Tarang 2021, Room to Read has ensured that the Girl leaders come forward and share their stories of leadership and resilience. The Girl leaders have shown how self-learning and blended learning are effective models to ensure education endures in the new normal," said Sourav Banerjee, Country Director, Room to Read India.
"It is now more important than ever to strengthen the agency of adolescent girls in the process of developing solutions to rethink education globally during the crisis. Policymakers and parents should together find ways to make it happen through understanding the unique challenges, sending girls to school once schools reopen, and incentivizing girls' education," Stephenie Foster, Partner at Smash Strategies, former Senior Advisor and Counselor to the Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women's Issues US Department of State.
The campaign, thus, brought out powerful leadership stories of girls and their families and caregivers - stories that demonstrate resilience and leadership, despite all the challenges that have come and may come.
Room to Read India was established in 2003 and presently has programs in 9 states- Chhattisgarh, Delhi NCR, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Telangana, Uttarakhand, and Uttar Pradesh. Our Literacy Program has been implemented in 15642 government schools, training 25,741 teachers trained in library management and reading activities. Over the same period, our Girls' Education & Gender Equality Program has benefitted over 71,626 girls. Till date, we have benefitted 4.7 million children, distributed ten crores of age-appropriate storybooks, and set up more than 10,000 libraries in government schools.
Room to Read is a global organization transforming the lives of millions of children in low-income communities by focusing on Literacy and gender equality in education. Founded in 2000 on the belief that World Change Starts with Educated Children®, our innovative model focuses on deep, systemic transformation within schools during two time periods that are most critical in a child's schooling: early primary school for literacy acquisition and secondary school for girls' education. We work in collaboration with local communities, partner organizations, and governments to develop literacy skills and a habit of reading among primary school children and ensure girls can complete secondary school with the skills necessary to negotiate key life decisions. By focusing on the quality of education provided within the communities and ensuring these outcomes are measured, we have created a model that can be replicated, localized, and sustained by governments. With its, global headquarters in San Francisco, Room to Read has benefited 23 million children across over 30,000 communities in Bangladesh, Cambodia, Grenada, Honduras, India, Indonesia, Jordan, Laos, Myanmar, Nepal, Rwanda, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Vietnam, and Zambia.
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