Freida Pinto: Girl Rising India campaign to change mindset

Oct 12, 2015, 08:38 IST | PTI

'Girl Rising India', a part of global campaign, is about changing the mindset and bringing in behavioural changes among people to promote girls' education, actress Freida Pinto said here as hundreds of Indian-Americans gathered at the American Capital to support the initiative.

Freida Pinto
Freida Pinto

"We really do hope that it ends up starting a conversation for the behavioural change... there is going to be no progress if there is no change in the mindset (about how people think about girls in India)," Pinto told reporters at a red carpet welcome for the campaign's benefit gala last night to raise funds for the initiative.

Pinto, one of the India team members of 'Girl Rising', however, said that the grass-root level campaign is not going to change the mindset overnight and it will take some time.

But this is an effort worth starting now, the "Slumdog Millionaire" star said.

Bollywood actress Priyanka Chopra who was previously scheduled to co-host the benefit gala along with Pinto but could not attend because of her last minute pressing engagement.

Pinto said the campaign would be launched in India soon from two states ¿ Rajasthan and Bihar. For this the 'Girl Rising India' campaign has tied up with Indian government and a network of grass-root NGOs to work towards this massive awareness campaign. "It's a long term investment," she said.

"The vision of the campaign is to have all girls in India have equal rights and inspire parents to dream big for their girls what they do for their sons," said Nidhi Dubey, country director of 'Girl Rising India'. "We really want to work on a behavioural change campaign that addresses that mindset," she said adding that the initiative is in sync with Prime Minister Narendra Modi's "Save Daughter, Educate Daughter" campaign.

Holly Gordon, co-founder and CEO of Girl Rising said that she decided to go to India first with her campaign because "it is a tough place" to be a girl. Also it is a place where the power of storytelling and Bollywood's reach to the middle class is strong.

The campaign, she said, is aimed at helping parents think big for their girl and break down the barriers of education.

"Equality for girls and boys means a more prosperous world," she noted. 'Girl Rising India' is an extraordinary journey, she added.

Nina Davuluri ¿ the first Indian-American 'Miss America 2014' - said she is inspired by her grandmother and this is the primary reason for her to join the campaign. She said she hopes to go to India tell her story hoping that this would inspire other girls in the country of her parents.

A new film production, 'Girl Rising India' harnesses the talents of biggest Bollywood stars including Freida Pinto, Priyanka Chopra, and Amitabh Bachchan to raise awareness about girl education and promote gender equality.

Responding to a question, Pinto exuded confidence that storytelling and creativity can change mindsets, and help 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-the time is now," she asserted.

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