As a part of their social responsibility, doctors of Lilavati Hospital and Research Centre in Mumbai have planned an ambitious public awareness campaign called ‘Save and Empower the Girl Child’, which took off with a show April 11 at the JW Marriott.
Suresh Shetty, Minister for Public Health, Family Welfare & Protocol, Government of Maharashtra, was the guest of honor.
Kajol addressed the audience while Sushmita Sen, accompanied by younger daughter Alyssa, Neha Dhupia, Shriya Saran, Krishika Lulla, Poonam Dhillon, Tejaswini, Padmini and Shivangi Kolhapure, Alka Yagnik with daughter Sayesha, Mandira Bedi, Mini Mathur, Dipannita Sharma, Pallavi Joshi, Farha Ali Khan and mom Zarine Khan, Deepshikha, Anu Ranjan, Zeba Kohli, Sara Khan, and others, some with daughters, walked the ramp in support of the cause. Many women doctors from the Lilavati team and outside also joined the walk on the ramp apart from BJP politician Poonam Mahajan, and others.
Free medical camps for the girl child on the last Saturday of every month is another part of this special initiative. In India, in the last 20 years, about 10 million girls have been killed by their parents either before or after they were born. The average death rate for girls under the age of one year was 72 per 1000 compared to 55 per 1000 among boys.
The proportion of girls who are able to attend school in India continues to remain low. The child sex ratio has declined to 914 from the 2001 value of 927—the lowest since independence. The child sex ratio is shockingly less than 900 in eight states including the two biggest states – UP and Maharashtra.
The Government of India has taken steps to empower the girl child, but a mindset revolution is the need of the hour. Sushmita in her heartfelt speech spoke of how this was possible when each human being decided to help in his or her own way. Kajol also stated how her late father Shomu Mukerji would stress that her sister Tanishaa and she were both son and daughter to the Mukerji family and had stressed this both when she first asked him about it as a kid and later when she was an adult.
The evening was laced with performances by girl dancers as well as the noteworthy but overlong presentations by the Stree Shakti Band and Vani Ganapathy, and co-sponsors Himalaya Drugs and Pharmaceuticals distributed hampers of baby products.