Art of Living unveils campaign to protect girl child

Bangalore, Dec 7 : Art of Living (AoL), a humanitarian organisation founded by spiritual guru Ravi Shankar, has launched a month-long nationwide campaign to protect the girl child through awareness and commitment.

"The campaign focuses on female feticide, malnutrition, abuse and violence against girls, lack of access to education and child marriage," AoL said in a statement here Saturday.

Designed to inspire people to pledge support to the girl child and influence decision-makers who can impact policy related to girls and women, the campaign will be conducted in cities identified as gender-critical such as Lucknow in Uttar Pradesh, Ranchi in Jharkhand, Indore in Madhya Pradesh, Jaipur in Rajasthan and Bongaigaon in Assam.

"In our culturally and traditionally rich society, when crime against girls and women is rising, it is our duty to put an end to violence and discrimination against them," Ravi Shankar told a gathering of 1,000 people who took pledge in the AoL ashram here.

Unicef India's communication specialist Manisha Mishra was present on the occasion.

A cross section of society spanning schools, colleges, universities, state governments, corporate houses and non-government organisations (NGOs) are participating in the campaign to end discrimination against, and abuse of, girls and women.

"Girls are often seen as a burden. Let us pledge to commit to treat them with dignity and respect, to teach our sons, brothers and nephews the value of girls," Mishra said at the event.

Being at the forefront of social transformation, AoL has initiated a number of projects over the past eight years for the girl child's welfare, including 383 free schools in 18 states across the country, covering 33,590 children, with half of them being girls.

"The campaign is about changing mindsets and we are hopeful that faith as an important influencer will bring about this change," said Vandana Khurana, a participant.

As the rising incidences of violence and crime against girls and women are causing concern to all, the AoL's "Celebrate the Girl Child" pledge and campaign are designed to convert the concern into a socially-relevant action.

--IANS (Posted on 07-12-2013)

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