When asked what her dreams are, 14-year-old Sunaina, who lives in a village in northern India, slipped into deep thought. After a few minutes, she said, "To get new clothes for Diwali," referring to one of India's biggest annual celebrations. "But what about a long-term dream," she was prompted, "a wish you wake up to every day and want to achieve?" Another long silence, then Sunaina's friends called her away. The question was never answered. Back at the New Delhi office of the NGO Breakthrough India, President and CEO Sohini Bhattacharya was briefed on the encounter. "It is shocking how girls don't have dreams and aspirations. Our society has stifled them so much," she said. During a street play. Founded in 2000, Breakthrough India works to transform social norms and the cultures that enable them. Its goals are to empower women and young girls through education, to save them from child marriages and domestic violence, and to end gender-based sex selection and sexual harassment. From the start, its approach has been iconoclastic: Indian-American human rights activist Mallika Dutt launched the organisation after her album and music video on women's rights topped the Indian pop charts and won India's 2001 National… Read full this story
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