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When stars came visiting

© UNICEF/India/2007
Mahatma Gandhi seems to smile benignly on the Girl Stars as they recount the stories of their success against all odds

Girl Stars in the Capital

By Augustine Veliath

New Delhi May 09 : Stars are busy people. Girl stars are no different. During  the two days that twelve of them spent in the capital city of  New Delhi, they had places to go, people to meet, campaigns to launch and questions to answer.

Selected for their grit, determination  and achievements in the face of extreme hardships they were interviewed by the media , the child reporters of Delhi and extensively by the Parliament television channel known as Lok Sabha TV. They also visited the Lok Sabha speaker and other senior officials

The Parliamentary Forum  on Children held a special session in their honor. The Convener of the Forum Ms Prema Cariappa M.P  hosted this session in the Parliament Annex.

Among the  parliamentarians present  were two key ministers.  “I am responsible for jobs and there are not enough jobs to go around”, said the Minister for Labour  Oscar Fernandez.

“But you girls have shown that nobody needs to wait for jobs. With a little initiative and hard work, any one can stand on their feet and support one’s families and even become role models. This is the lesson that  needs to go  all the young people of India.”

“You are the perfect ambassadors for doing  so”, he continued, “because you have done it all. I salute you as the ambassadors of future India.”

The Health Ministry will use your films to inspire our 600,000 Ashas (Accredited Social Health Activists), said the Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare Dr Ambumani Ramdoss told the girl stars. Through the Ashas we will inspire many more thousands of girls to become like you—self sufficient, confident  and inspring , he said.

Besides the members of Parliament senior officials from Ministry of Health, Ministry of Women and Child Development, Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment and Ministry of Labour engaged the girl stars in dialogue on their achievement s and insights.

© UNICEF/India/2007
The Girl Stars spoke eloquently about their struggles and triumph in the special session of the parliamentary forum on children convened to honour them in Delhi

On May 09 Girl stars assembled at the Gandhi Smriti, the place where Mahatma Gandhi spent the last 144 days of his life and attained martyrdom. 

Interacting with the girl stars, Ms Tara Gandhi Bhattacharjee, a renowned social worker and grand daughter of Mahatma Gandhi said “it is significant that you are launching the campaign from these premises. Basic education that is relevant and empowering was so close to Bapu’s heart.”

“You are actually contributing to the unfulfilled parts of Gandhiji’s dream for India”  added Dr  Savita Singh, Director of Gandhi Smriti and a Gandhian scholar.

“These girls are an inspiration for all and people must be told about their struggle,” said UNICEF representative in India, Cecilio Adorna, just after launching of the campaign. “Gandhiji is not only a role model  of leadership for the entire world, he was also one of the greatest champions of women’s education and emancipation”,  Adorna added.

The campaign vehicles were flagged off by Ms Tara Gandhi Bhattacharjee, Dr Savita Singh and Mr Cecilio Adorna. the UNICEF representative to India  in the presences of girl stars and a crowd of enthusiastic young people.

The multimedia vehicles will take the road show to villages in Bihar, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh, where girl's education indicators are low. For the next 30 days through these fifteen films communities in 180 villages will engage in an open dialogue about the importance of educating girls, and the power of education to transform lives.

 

 

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