Why Meri Beti, Meri Shakti campaign is ever so important today?

Plan India has been working with girls and their parents from marginalised communities for almost four decades. Through various gender transformative programmes and projects like Saksham, Balika Shivir, Girls Aspirations for Rights and Values, Digital Learning Centres, Plan India aims to create an environment where girls can Learn, Lead, Decide and Thrive.

gender transformative programmes by plan india

Drawing inspiration and learnings from the organisation’s historical knowledge, we launched the Meri Beti, Meri Shakti campaign in 2014. Meri Beti, Meri Shakti aims to bring all stakeholders together on a common platform to voice girls’ rights, equality and equity.

The objective of the campaign is to empower girls with equal opportunities and good education, as they are sure to create an identity for themselves, their families and indeed the nation. At Plan India, we believe that it is critical to provide equal rights and opportunities for girls so that they are not left behind. By investing in girls, we are investing in the future of our country.

Meri Beti, Meri Shakti was launched with the ambition to affect positive change in the lives of girls so that they are able to take independent decisions about their lives, career and growth. By partnering with luminaries from various lines of work and documenting their accounts and experiences with their daughters, the project took the form of an inspirational coffee table book which strived to positively reflect the value and contributions of girls in all aspects of life. Contributors included Amitabh Bachchan, Anil Kapoor, Kapil Dev, Neerja Birla, Mary Kom, Prasoon Joshi, Shobhaa De, Sangita Jindal, Kirthiga Reddy and Aparna Sen to name a few. (http://bit.ly/2EZiOs7)

Plan India’s Chair Emeritus Govind Nihalani had conceptualised the book, which celebrated strong bonds between parents and daughters. Apart from featuring prominent public figures, the book also celebrates stories of courage and change from grass root.

To quote an excerpt from the book, ““Education is important, but percentages do not matter to me. Education helps shape character and when kids learn good values, it makes me proud," said Kapil Dev, Former Indian Captain, Indian Cricket Team, while sharing how his daughter inspires him every day.

This year, on January 24, to mark National Girl Child Day, Plan India celebrates the journey towards the movement of empowering girls through a digital launch!

The campaign aims at providing a sustainable and enabling environment for girls to learn, lead, decide and thrive. We envisage a future where 10 million girls (https://www.planindia.org/strategic-priorities) by 2020 are positively impacted, thereby catalysing positive social development.

Plan India works with young people, particularly adolescent girls, on their right to participate in decision making related to their lives at family, community and national levels. We emphasise that girls must have access to every opportunity, at home, at school and in their wider communities, to be heard and heeded. Their voices and experiences need to influence and lead change. They need to be empowered to be decision-makers in all matters that affect them and the world they live in.

I would like to reiterate that for nearly four decades, Plan India has worked to create a lasting impact in the lives of vulnerable and excluded girls and boys, their families and communities. Working with a range of civil society partners, we have improved the lives of millions of children by providing them access to protection, basic education, proper healthcare, a healthy environment, livelihood opportunities and participation in decisions which affect their lives. And your support helps us to continue to do so.

Finally, to encapsulate the essence of our campaign, I would like to share a quote from the book on the interpretation of Shakti “Shakti is our little daughter - our Beti who will grow up strong, independent, compassionate, free thinking and free spirited. The girl child remains among the most discriminated social groups in India. A victim of gender inequality, in a society that negates her significance, her power, her Shakti.

Join us in our campaign Meri Beti, Meri Shakti, together we can affect positive change!

- Bhagyashri Dengle, Executive Director, Plan India