Breakthrough, an organization working to make violence and discrimination against women and girls unacceptable, has been recognized as a ‘Children’s Champion’ by the Delhi Commission for Protection of Child Rights (DCPCR). The prestigious award honors individuals and institutions that have made significant contributions to promote child rights in India.
The award was presented to Sohini Bhattacharya, CEO of Breakthrough by Dr. S. Muralidhar, Chief Justice, Odisha High Court. Atishi Singh, Honorable Minister of Education and Women & Child Development, Government of Delhi was also present at the event. DCPCR is an Apex statutory authority of the Government of Delhi responsible for protecting, promoting, and monitoring the implementation of child rights policies for education, nutrition, immunization, and prevention of abuse.
Commenting on the award, Sohini Bhattacharya, CEO, Breakthrough said, “We are very honored and happy to receive this award from DCPCR. It is a humbling experience to be recognized as a Children’s Rights Champion with leading activists and organizations in this space. Breakthrough is an organization that works to change discriminatory gender norms and patriarchal social expectations to build leadership of young people so that they can make something that is normalized, and accepted in our society, unacceptable. Our young gender champions have negotiated with public transport departments on safe transports, persuaded families to send their girls to schools, stopped their own and others’ early marriage and have taken innumerable actions for themselves, their families and communities.”
Breakthrough was founded in 1999 to create a cultural shift to end violence and discrimination against girls and women. At the core of Breakthrough’s work is a deep transformative framework that is equipped with a 2-year, school-based gender equity programme for grades 6-8 (11-14 years), called Taron Ki Toli (TKT- Gang of stars). The initiative aims to shape gender views and bring about significant shifts in gender behaviors of boys and girls from an early age. Through this model, Breakthrough works directly with rural, semi-urban, economically backward and marginalized communities to build a bold, new generation of gender equal citizens who can bring an end to violence and discrimination against women and girls around them. Breakthrough has so far engaged with over 9,00,000 adolescent boys and girls across 4 Indian states.
Currently, Breakthrough’s efforts are focused on creating a more gender-equitable government school system, incorporating gender lens into middle school curricula, including subjects like English, Social Studies, and Moral Sciences for grades 6-8. Teachers and school leaders are being trained to ensure greater gender sensitivity and capacity to deliver the curriculum using a train-the-trainer model. The gender-transformative school system model currently functions in collaboration with the education department of the government of Punjab and is expected to reach over one million adolescents and 23,000 teachers in the next few years.
“Our gender equity curriculum works across thousands of Government schools to ensure safe learning environments and build gender equitable behaviors among adolescents, teachers and school administrators. To ensure all adolescents, specially girls, live a life free of violence, to make their own decisions about their lives and reach their full potential, we are now working on making the Government education system more gender transformative across two states – Punjab and Odisha – in partnership with the state education departments,” added Ms. Bhattacharya.
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