Ahead of the National Day of Girl Child (January 24, 2020)), actress Dia Mirza urged citizens to take up the responsibility of protecting women and children. Dia was speaking at an event hosted at IIT Bombay by the NGO Save the Children, of which Dia is the Artist Ambassador. The NGO chose the theme Girl Safety for this year’s edition of its famous Changemaker Series. Besides Dia, the NGO had invited other influencers for a panel discussion – these included Elsa Marie D’Silva, (Founder and CEO – Safecity), Nayana Chowdhury, (Director of Program – Breakthrough), Anand Tewari, (Actor and Director,) Latifa Sheikh, (Child Champion,) and Pragya Vats, (Head of Campaigns, Save the Children) were also invited.
The panel was moderated by Nikhil Taneja, Co-founder and CEO of Yuvaa
The common tenor at the discussion was that when it comes to the Girl Child and Safety, a more powerful support system needs to be in place. Dia Mirza recounted her younger days and stressed on why tackling the issue directly is the best way forward. “When I was younger, back home in Hyderabad even I faced a stalker. I confronted him and asked him his name. That moment, the boy didn’t have an answer. One should never ignore or be afraid of reporting/calling out a harasser. There is no shame in doing so. It empowers us with the ability to address the problem and more often than not data indicates that it makes a big difference. The harassment does stop”
Additionally Dia mentioned, “Safety is not just a law an order issue, it is much more, with its long and firm roots in the mind-sets and the play of patriarchy. The manifestations of violence can take as horrific a turn as rape. It renders me speechless to hear how young children also fall prey to most heinous of violence and violations.”
The highlight of the event was a thought-provoking performance by the Garima Kunzru, on the very famous spoken-word poetry, ‘Dear Aunty’.