CAMPAIGN FOR EQUAL EDUCATION
Snehalaya is proud to have been chosen to join the year-long campaign, Students Stand #WithMalala (SSWM), a collaboration between Malala Fund and Participant Media, to empower the next generation to raise their voices for all girls’ rights to 12 years of free, safe and quality education. Since our launch in November last year we have shared Malala Yousafzai’s story and campaign with over 27,000 people.
With the launch of the Hindi language version of the film on DVD, the goal of the Students Stand with Malala campaign (#SSWM) and Snehalaya, is to raise awareness of the importance of education for girls in our own community. The next stage of our campaign launched in April, taking Snehalaya to the streets and slums within our own district of Ahmednagar, Maharashtra, bringing the film, and the story of the inspirational young woman, Malala Yousafzai, to Dalit, tribal and nomadic communities, as well as Muslim groups and people from lower socio-economic backgrounds.
Over six weeks a team of enthusiastic street players, drummers, volunteers, guest speakers, staff and students visited 23 locations across Ahmednagar, to hold screenings of 'He Named Me Malala' and debate the issues facing girls’ education and how these can be overcome. Children also submitted entries for a Malala Essay Writing competition, slogan and poetry competitions, and a poster competition. The winners were presented with their prizes at the closing ceremony of the campaign in Ahmednagar on 15 June.
In attendance at the showcase were the young beneficiaries of Snehalaya, the campaign team and a number of key benefactors and individuals who support the work of the organisation. Amongst them was Lila Poonawalla, the first female mechanical engineer in India, former Chair of TetraPak India, Alfa Lavel India, and the founder of the Lila Poonawalla Foundation which has assisted over 3000 girls in Maharastra pursue further education. When asked about why she started the foundation she said, 'we want to create fully rounded, healthy women, who are educated to the highest level, and can lead independent lives.'
The evening included performances from dance students that represented the hardship women worldwide face on a daily basis, and a speech from a brave young woman called Anjun Sayyed. Anjun fled over 120km from an arranged marriage with a violent husband. She returned to her parents' house, where she heard that the Malala documentary was being screened in her village. After the film she thought, 'if a 12 year old can do all of this for her education, I can fight for mine too.' Anjun went straight to Snehalaya where she was accepted as a student and is now looking forward to her new life at college training to become a social worker. Snehalaya has also agreed to support her younger sister through her education, as their parents cannot afford to.
Without charities like Snehalaya collaborating with campaigns like #SSWM and the Malala Fund, girls like Anjun would not have a future. Snehalaya will continue to work for equal education for all, particularly by improving the access to secondary education for girls.
The next stage of our campaign will take the film to our local schools and colleges from 1 July