We have been celebrating Malala Yousafzai's birthday annually since 2015, when we partnered with Malala Fund to arrange the Indian premiere of 'He Named me Malala', in Mumbai.
Each year is different but one common factor is that we task our Malala Peer Mentors, selected from our 13-18 year old female beneficiaries, to lead the celebrations. This year, our activities coincided with Ashadhi Ekadashi and the first day of Eid.
On 10 July our Balbhavan used the opportunity to raise awareness about girls education to parents living in our slum communities. Our students participated in Dindi and dances with Lezim to the tune of Vitthal Vitthal Vitthala.
They paraded through their slum communities raising awareness that boys and girls are equal and the importance of girls' education and prevention of child marriage with parents. They asked what is the importance of girl's education in today's modern and technological age? Also, girls need the education to be aware of their rights and duties. Parents also listened calmly, showed enthusiasm and participating in the rally.
The same day our mentors in our Rehab Center arranged an afternoon of activities, inviting our boys to also attend. By inviting both genders to take part in sports, board games and quizzes the girls were able to show that we both genders bring their own strengths.
The celebrations continue today and on Sunday 17 July the peer mentors from our Balbhavan and rehab Center will join together with our Childline and Udaan projects to keep girls in school and help prevent child marriage in some of the hotspots for the practice in our district.