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Watch: They Tried to Murder Her, but This Mother Fought the World for Her Girls

“This film taught me a very important lesson. That no matter what, we should never lose hope, and if we do, that success has to be on our side.”

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In November 2016, the University of Chicago’s Center for Interdisciplinary Inquiry and Innovation in Sexual and Reproductive Health (Ci3) submitted a series of short documentaries to the 10th Annual Chinh India Kids Film Festival.

These stories by young people in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, were created as part of Kissa Kahani.

Kissa Kahani focuses on gender equity and improving health outcomes, particularly among young women and girls living in urban slums.

Ci3 envisions a world where all young people emerge into adulthood with agency over their bodies and voices. The Kissa Kahani stories help to amplify the voices of young people and demonstrate how they resist social norms. Partnering with the Chinh India Kids Film Festival, “where kids decide,” afforded Ci3 the opportunity to disseminate the stories nationally.

The Chinh India Kids Film Festival & Forum supports social initiatives that promote the well being of children by harnessing traditional wisdom, art and culture. The festival brings together young people from across the world through filmmaking.

During the festival, children judge films from multiple categories: pre-school (for children between four to six years), early education (ages seven to twelve years), animation for children (ages thirteen to seventeen years), and the ‘Kids for Kids’ category.

This annual event is unique because it values the perspectives of children and brings nomadic and disadvantaged children from India into mainstream media production, while allowing pre-school children to participate in the media process.

The short film featured in this post, ‘Daughters’, by Pinky Kashyap, won a special award in the festival’s ‘Kids for Kids’ category.

Narrated by a daughter, it describes a mother’s determination to create a better life – free from gender-based violence – for her children. Buoyed by her mother’s example, the audience bears witness to a young woman’s determination to improve the condition of women in Indian society.

Comments from the children who watched ‘Daughters’ include:

“This film should be shown to rural girls, and it would give them [a] lot of strength.”

“The strong willpower inspired me. I recommend this film.”

“The courage of [the] mother and the daughter left me awestruck.”

One youth film festival juror said it best: “This film taught me a very important lesson. That no matter what, we should never lose hope, and if we do, that success has to be on our side.”

It was an exciting and new experience for Pinky as well. Along with the Kissa Kahani team and four other youth from Lucknow, she travelled to New Delhi for the first time to attend the Chinh Forum. In the Forum, she participated in a panel discussion on the power of sharing her story and the importance of being provided with a platform to advocate for young women and girls like her.

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Written by Kissa Kahani

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Kissa Kahani is a multi-year, international project at the University of Chicago that uses multimedia approaches, storytelling, and innovative research techniques to promote gender equity in the urban areas of Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, India.