Tomorrow is the National Girl Child Day and International Day of Education. Such national and international days are observed as a reminder of the cause it tries to achieve and evaluate the tasks accomplished, in addition to providing a way ahead. Interestingly, this day is an intersection of empowerment of girl child through quality education. It is my strong belief that education as the third eye of a child enables and empowers men and women to take better control of their lives. Girls’ education is the cornerstone for progress and empowerment – economic, social, psychological and structural. Without education, the most important element of our happy existence – self esteem and dignity is at a low. Girls have to be empowered to empower a nation and chart its way towards development.

Under the aegis of Kanyakiran, a flagship initiative of Kalinga Institute of Social Sciences (KISS) and Kalinga Institute of Industrial Technology, we aim to build a safe environment with Zero Tolerance to Sexual Violence in Odisha. This idea conceived, ideated and envisioned by me in 2016 has now culminated into a movement. For the last five years, under the banner of Kanyakiran, awareness camps, workshops and sensitisation programmes have been organised across all districts and blocks in the state.

This year, we are conducting awareness programmes with the tag line – Mein Padhungi, Mein Aage Badhungi, symbolising how education uplifts an individual. This sensitisation programme is being conducted in all districts of Odisha and all the major towns. The meeting will be graced by eminent personalities who have expertise in the subject and rich experience. Girls with top matric percentage in the district will be felicitated. A national webinar on Educating Girl Child for Building an Equitable Society will be conducted with resource persons like Dr. Smita Premchander, Head, SAMPARK & Adjunct Professor, IIM-A, Mr. Suryamani Roul, Veteran Development Professional. Meanwhile, Padma Shree Dr. Sunitha Krishnan, Founder, Prajwala will address as keynote speaker. Girls who have broken the stereotype and carved a niche for themselves and uplifted other girls will be felicitated in the function.

The campaign that kickstarts on the National Girl Child Day will have activities, workshops and summits throughout the year to drive in non-negotiable, zero tolerance towards sexual harassment and abuse to women and girl child under the banner of Kanyakiran.