Meena and UNICEF
1990 to 2000 was the Decade of the Girl Child. UNICEF decided to celebrate the decade by creating an animated film series to entertain and inspire girls, their families and communities across South Asia. Meena is the heroine of this series.
Bangladesh was the first country to meet Meena when a film about her struggle to go to school, called Count Your Chickens, aired on national television in 1993. Since then, Meena has stared in 19 films for television, as well as radio programmes, comics and books. Every year, UNICEF releases new Meena storylines that are read and watched by children in India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Bhutan.
A lot of research went into finding the perfect look and name for Meena. Artists from four different countries drew dozens of different South Asian girls, before settling on the Meena we know today. In developing the initial films, UNICEF spoke to over 10,000 children about the clothes Meena should wear and the type of life she might have. The name “Meena” is common across South Asia.
UNICEF continues to speak with children to find out what sorts of stories people want to hear about Meena.
Read more about the Meena Communication Initiative.