The appreciation towards the landmark Kanyashree scheme, instituted by the West Bengal Government had already reached far and wide. After international accolades, recognition by UNICEF and invitation to the Girl Summit 2014 in London, the scheme has now been portrayed in a short-film made by an Oscar-winning director.
Short film on Kanyashree
A short film on a young girl's fight to stave off marriage and help her family make ends meet drew appreciation at the KIFF on Sunday.
Made by Oscar winning American short filmmaker Megan Mylan, the film is about a beneficiary of the West Bengal Government's Kanyashree and Sabala schemes that are aimed at empowering the women of rural Bengal.
State Minister for the Women & Child Development and Social Welfare department, Dr Sashi Panja introduced the film.
Titled 'After My Garden Grows', the ten-minute film is more like a clip that conveys a strong message. The documentary, shot in Coochbehar district of West Bengal, is about empowerment of rural girls and tells the story of Monika, a rural teenager empowered by the Kanyashree, growing a tiny garden in her home to feed her family, and sow the seeds of her own independence, going back to school and delay the fatalistic early marriage.
14 August is celebrated as Kanyashree Diwas
The story of Monika
Dr Panja, while introducing the film said, “Monika is one among the many rural girls who are participating in the Kanyashree and SABLA programme implemented by our government. The state government is ensuring land ownership to thousands of landless women through Nijo Griha Nijo Bhumi a flagship programme launched by the Hon'ble Chief Minister.
Monika is a beneficiary like hundreds of girls who are accessing a patch of parental land for productive use as a part of the empowerment process enabling them to take actions to continue their education and delay their marriages.
Monika's sister Kanika, who never had opportunity to participate in such programme and was married off by her parents at the age of 16 years is an example that shows the effectiveness of this collaboration programme.
Today Monika has her garden that helps her having control over the productive asset which supports her with self-determination and plan for a better future.”
The film could be used by the State government to project its rural schemes, Dr Panja said. “We are exploring the possibilities of using the film to create awareness on our programmes and motivate the girls to join the programme and start their journey towards a life with better education, marriage at proper age and above all to realize their rights including that on land,” she said.
WB CM at Kanyashree Diwas function
Welfare Board for transgenders
Recently at a state level meet 'Rehabilitation and Welfare of Transgender Community' to discuss if the tag 'third gender' is acceptable to them State Minister for Women and Social Welfare, Dr Shashi Panja said that the Government is drawing up a plan with the help of NGOs working on the issue to protect the rights of the transgenders.
She also added that they were going to set up a separate welfare board for transgenders under her department. “We will begin by ascertaining the number of people belonging to the third gender and will then provide them with the required health facilities,” the Minister had said. It is estimated that the transgender population in West Bengal is around five to six lakhs.