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Navjyoti unfolds stories of courage and hope

© UNICEF/ Vidya Kulkarni/ 2008
Actor Manoj Joshi felicitating Priti Vasave

Vidya Kulkarni

Mumbai: Nine girls coming from culturally diverse backgrounds and different parts of the state have one common message to share – “Girls are not any less.” These are Navjyoti’s, nine girl achievers for 2008, who have struggled hard to shape their lives and also bring about change in their own community.

A joint venture of UNICEF and Mumbai Doordarshan Television, Navjyoti programme aims to give recognition to initiatives taken by the girls despite their adverse circumstances. Started in 2003, Navjyoti celebrated its fifth year in a colourfully decked studio in Mumbai’s television center on the evening of 11th November 2008. Once again, the stories of ‘girl power’ unfolded and stunned the audience during this inspiring and emotional evening. 

A joint venture of UNICEF and Mumbai Doordarshan Television, Navjyoti programme aims to give recognition to initiatives taken by the girls despite their adverse circumstances. Started in 2003, Navjyoti celebrated its fifth year in a colourfully decked studio in Mumbai’s television center on the evening of 11th November 2008. Once again, the stories of ‘girl power’ unfolded and stunned the audience during this inspiring and emotional evening. 

Director Doordarshan, Laxmendra Chopra, called the event a salute to aspirations and perseverance of the girls. “Supporting the girls in their endeavors is ultimately going to benefit the entire society” he said.

“UNICEF is working to unleash the potential of girl children by making them aware of their own rights and strengths and enabling them to contribute towards the development of their communities,” informed State Representative of UNICEF in Maharashtra, Gopi Menon.

For all the Navjyoti girls it was a special moment in their lives. They received honours from nine eminent and inspiring personalities from the world of media. “Being here this evening has been a humbling experience. The courage of these girls is promising and a reassurance of a bright future for our country,” remained a common feeling expressed by the guests.

© UNICEF/ Vidya Kulkarni/ 2008
Navjyoti achievers for the 2008

What was striking in all personal narrations and audio-visual clips of Navjyoti achievers is their struggle to seize opportunities for development. Coming from poor families, each one of them had to learn and earn at the same time. Despite this, the girls had excelled in education and also in their chosen field of work. Sushila from Jalna district passed her Class X examination with distinction; Deepali from Sangli honed her sporting talents as a national level player; Ranjana from Latur has recently been recruited for police training …. the stories are impressive and motivating.

While following their personal dreams, the Navjyoti girls are also actively involved in community development. Some like Prajapati and Priti are mobilizing adolescent girls. Sonia and Chhaya are involved in a range of activities for the improvement of sanitation and health in their villages. Chaitali wants to become a trained social worker to help needy people, while Archana would like to work as a public servant without sacrificing her social work.   

The desire to get involved with developmental work while simultaneously pursuing a career in their chosen field was a sentiment expressed by all the girls, displaying a remarkable sense of commitment. As aptly put by Anuradha Nair from UNICEF, Navjyoti through their lives are indeed making a difference to the lives of many in their own communities.

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