Alia Bhatt takes the stage to announce the premiere of ‘Girl Rising: Woh Padhegi. Woh Udegi


Girl Rising, a global movement for educating and empowering girls, today announced the India premiere of its film ‘Girl Rising: Woh Padhegi. Woh Udegi.’ (She Learns. She Rises.). The film will be broadcast on Star Plus on August 29 at 1:30 pm.

The film, directed by Academy Award-nominated director Richard E. Robbins, tells the stories of eight extraordinary girls from around the world and features Bollywood stars Priyanka Chopra, Freida Pinto, Madhuri Dixit, Alia Bhatt, Kareena Kapoor, Nandita Das, Sushmita Sen, Parineeti Chopra with narration by Farhan Akhtar and legendary actor Amitabh Bachchan.

Union Minister for Women and Child Development Maneka Gandhi, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Acting Administrator Alfonso E. Lenhardt, executives from Star TV and Intel, actor Alia Bhatt and wrestling champion Sangram Singh helped launch the premiere in Mumbai. Freida Pinto and Priyanka Chopra participated remotely via video.

Reflecting on the importance of ensuring education of the girl child, which is one of the objectives of the Ministry’s ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao’ campaign and its partnership with Girl Rising, Maneka Gandhi, Union Minister for Women and Child Development, said: “Ultimately, the happiness of a nation lies in the dignity of its daughters. And dignity cannot come without education. After all it is the education that sustains human values and prepares and forms the foundation for learning and critical thinking. Education provides the skills for girls to become informed citizen and helps them get their voice heard in the society.”

With support from USAID, Intel, The Documentary Group and Vulcan Productions, Girl Rising is going beyond the broadcast and working with partners to drive impact. The global initiative is collaborating with the public and private sectors in India to help communities understand the value of educating girls. In Rajasthan and Bihar, community programs are being launched in partnership with Save the Children. Screening kits of the film will be available online for companies, schools and non-profits to spark community conversations about girls education.

“Education is one of the most critical areas of empowerment for girls, and it shouldn’t be a luxury. When girls are educated, they lead healthier and more productive lives. They become better citizens, parents and breadwinners. That is why USAID is thrilled to bring these unforgettable stories to India through our partnership with Girl Rising,” USAID Acting Administrator Alfonso Lenhardt said.

In collaboration with HP and Ogilvy & Mather, Girl Rising is also developing a new mass media campaign to help more girls complete secondary school. Nationwide, 25 percent of girls drop out by Class 5 and over 40 percent never make it to Class 10.

Sanjay Gupta, Star India COO, said: “Star India has constantly worked to redefine the role of Television as an agent of social change, Women empowerment is a cause we feel strongly about and our aspirational content has influenced the changing role of women in society. We feel that Raksha Bandhan is a great aperture for Star Plus to present Girl Rising – Woh Padegi, Woh Udegi, a ground-breaking film that we hope will inspire viewers to go beyond and do something meaningful to empower the young girls of our country.”

Emphasizing the role of technology as an enabler for change, Debjani Ghosh, Vice President Sales & Marketing Group, Managing Director, South Asia, Intel, said: “India can achieve sustainable inclusive growth only if girls and women are able to come forth and contribute effectively to its economy. As a founding partner of ‘Girl Rising’, Intel has worked with policy makers across the world to talk about improving gender equity in education. ‘Girl Rising’ in Hindi will spread the important message to Indian citizens that together we can empower girls and help them become agents of positive change in their communities.”

Lloyd Mathias, Head of Marketing, Personal Systems, HP India, adds: “We understand that when girls receive the same secondary school opportunities as boys, the prospects of the entire family, and thereby the village changes for the good of the country. Girl Rising’s initiative is a perfect fit for HP’s #BendTheRules campaign, the platform we have provided for young millennials to chase their passion and make it happen. Through this association, we aim to highlight the importance of school education for girls and urge the millennials to #BendTheRules and be the change by helping them pass class 10.”

Renowned Bollywood star Priyanka Chopra also commented on the occasion, “There is a simple and critical truth that exists - educating girls can change the world in just one generation. Girl Rising and the groundbreaking campaign that surrounds it is a powerful, brave initiative that will become a catalyst for change. Major strides have been made toward universal primary education across India, but drastic inequalities at the secondary school level remain. If more girls are educated, all of India stands to gain. ...I cannot think of a cause today that is more important than ensuring girls have the same access to education as boys, giving them the opportunity to become women who can achieve their fullest potential.”

Freida Pinto added: “With GR India we are confident that storytelling and creativity is what can create behavioral change that is the first step in changing mindsets and helping people see the importance of valuing the girl child. We are not looking at conventional methods and redundant jargon. We aim to be disruptive with our ideas, swift with action and collaborative with our partners who share the same sentiment that ‘the time is now’. The launch of GR India is a very exciting moment for me because finally we can roll out a program that ticks all the above mentioned requirements.”

“In India, there is a growing understanding that girls’ education is crucial to social and economic progress, and that there is an urgent need to break the status quo of gender discrimination. With support of the Prime Minister, the Ministry of Women and Child Development, USAID, business leaders and our media and technology partners, Girl Rising will elevate this message and transform it into a national movement that can ensure a promising future for girls,” Nidhi Dubey, Girl Rising India Country Director, said.

Girl Rising is partnering with non-profits working on behalf of girls across India and around the world. They include WorldVision, CARE, PLAN International, and others. WorldVision was instrumental in the pre-production and production of the Girl Rising film in India. Sony Thomas, Group Director - Public Engagement, World Vision India, stated, “All the girls in the movie Girl Rising were cast not based on their acting talent but because their story speaks of the aspirations of many girls across the country. WorldVision India works to empower families and children with job skills and education programs to ensure children - India’s next generation - are educated and equipped enough to end this cycle of poverty.

SIDDHANT SAMACHAR

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