When a 10 year-old girl in Haryana, India can see that her community is in need of more male heroes to protect the safety, livelihood, and rights of women and girls, something must be done.
In October, “The Hero Project” – a campaign that aims to prevent gender-based violence in India by challenging harmful gender stereotypes – launched the #ChangetheStory contest. Hundreds of rural communities in Pune and Beed and slum communities in Bombay and Delhi watched a series of three documentaries about various forms of violence against women, shared their thoughts about them in lively conversations, and were then challenged to develop their own solutions to gender-based violence. In January, four of the 190 participating communities were awarded $1000 in seed money to implement their projects. Among the winning ideas: a strategy for tackling the drug abuse that is provoking violence in boys and men, and a plan to develop a playground reserved for girls.
One of the most poignant submissions came from a ten-year-old girl, who submitted her version of the new male hero – a policeman who is committed to protecting the women in his community even when that means standing up to his superiors. If a young girl understands that policemen need to be the catalysts for change, it is time for her vision to be brought to life.