Actress Priyanka Chopra, who features in a Youtube video launched on International Day of the Girl Child on Thursday, says girls must be given a chance to follow their dreams and they will do everything.
The video is aimed at generating awareness around the importance of girls’ education in India.
Among a series of four ads running over the next several weeks, Priyanka, a globally acclaimed actress and Unicef Goodwill Ambassador, is breaking common stereotypes girls are used to hearing in the country today.
In the video, Priyanka says, “As girls grow up, the list of instructions grow as well. ‘Ladkiyan zaada uchal kud nahin karte (Don’t jump around too much)’, ‘Ladkiyan uchi awaaz main nahin bolti (girls don’t raise their voice)’, ‘Padhai main kya rakha hai (whats’s the point in studying so hard)’, ‘Ghar hi toh sambhalna hai (you will be managing the house after all)’… so what are girls to do.
“Girls will follow their dreams and will do everything.”
The video ends with an appeal to give girls a chance at everything.
Highlighting the cause and lending support to the campaign, Priyanka has also written a guest blog which starts with her “entering a village school full of young girls” and how she was “greeted by peals of laughter”.
“…there was a break in which they were all play acting – one was wearing a makeshift lab coat and playing doctor, another young one was wearing big glasses, holding a chalk in one hand, and was playing teacher, while one had made a huge tower from blocks and was pointing to her becoming a civil engineer and making big buildings. Where was I? It’s not important because I have travelled to the remotest villages with Unicef across India and seen the same over and over again.”
Priyanka added: “Those smiles and their dreams, their trust in us, the faith in their dreams and role playing — have constantly reinstated my hope. Over a decade of working with Unicef to empower the girl child, to ensure access to education for the girls, is working – maybe in small steps, but the efforts can be seen. The statistics staring at us may be staggering but then, let us not focus on how big the numbers are.”
She says that worldwide, over 250 million children and youth are out of school.
“The battle is global. Which means, more effort from all of us as a responsible society. If the battle is big, let’s match our efforts to that scale, and up the ante on how we can help reduce that number. Bring more smiles, send more girls to school, ensure less dropouts and empower every girl child’s dream.”