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Kyunki… Inspiring better living for young girls

JAIPUR: The Anganwadi (childcare) centre is buzzing with activity. It is a hot Thursday afternoon but the team of young girls and women who gather here every week are enthusiastic.

Last night, these women from Bantli village of Tonk district in Rajasthan watched the latest telecast of UNICEF’s entertainment-education serial Kyunki… Jeena Issi ka Naam Hai (Because… That’s What Life Is) as they have been doing for the past few months since they were introduced to it by their local health worker.

Kyunki… A harbinger of change

Sitting in a huddle, braving the hot sun, the women are excited and enthused to share their opinions and learnings from the show.

"This story is our story. We have problems like this in our village even today where little girls are not sent to school and get married off at a young age.

"Without education they cannot take care of themselves or their children properly. This serial is for people like us, who want to learn but cannot,” says Jamuna, a keen watcher of the serial.

Kyunki… is an informative drama serial adopting messages from the UN publication 'Facts for Life'  and is designed specifically to educate and bring about attitudinal and behavioral changes amongst women between ages of 15-34 in underserved Hindi speaking communities where education and facilities are minimal.

"This story is our story. We have problems like this in our village even today where little girls are not sent to school and get married off at a young age.
Launched on India’s national public television channel, Doordarshan, on World Health Day 2008, Kyunki… in its past year of telecast has delved into a range of topics—health, hygiene, safe motherhood, newborn care, gender equality, social inclusion and others—that work towards the wellbeing, protection and development of women and children in underserved communities and beyond. 

Kyunki A source of inspiration

Jamuna was married before she was 10 and never got a chance to go to school. She is reluctant to talk about her early marriage but is determined that her children get proper education and get married when they are ready.

“Girls here still get married at a very young age but the practice is not as common as before,” Jamuna shares.

“We want to change the way parents think so we go to those families and ask them to watch this serial and then they too will understand what we are talking about,” she adds.

Their personal home-to-home visits have proven to be fruitful so far. Families who were earlier resistant to the idea of sending their girls to school now see that an education can give their daughters a much better life and have started sending them to school.

“Many people think that sending their girls to school will spoil them. But they see Meena in the serial as a source of inspiration and how going to school allows her to help her father with work. She is also able to differentiate between right and wrong and has the courage to speak up when something wrong is happening. That is how the daughters of our village should also be,” adds Bhauri Devi, another Kyunki… viewer and a volunteer who propagates girl’s education in her village.

The women in Bantli contend that the serial has had an impact on their thinking and lives. Whereas earlier they were only aware of a few health and hygiene issues, they never connected schooling as a way to tackle these problems that directly influence their day to day living.

Vandana, a class 12 student, speaks for the girls of her age: “A girl who is well educated will refuse to get married early and if need be, she will be able to give proper reasons to her parents about why an early marriage can destroy their young daughter’s life. Kyunki… fights on our side to get rid of archaic practices that stem from ignorance and actually have a negative effect on people.”

Kyunki… Jeena Issi Ka Naam Hai airs on Doordarshan every Monday to Wednesday from 20:30 to 21:00



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