NEW DELHI, India, 9 November 2010 – Priyanka Chopra, Bollywood superstar, UNICEF national ambassador, and champion for children, has chosen to speak up for the right of every child in India to go to school by pledging her support to the Awaaz Do campaign. In a video message released today, Priyanka voices her support for the movement and encourages every Indian to sign up on the campaign website.
“School was the best time of my life, I loved school. Every time I see kids going to school, it brings back such amazing memories of my own time,” Priyanka tells her fans. “Education can change lives. That’s why I’m raising my voice for the 8 million children who are out of school… We’ve tried silence. It’s now time to speak up for every child’s right to be educated.”
The Awaaz Do campaign was launched nationwide last month to raise awareness of the fact that eight million children in India, aged six to 14, still do not go to school. Since the launch, more than sixteen thousand Indians have lent their voices to the cause, pledging their support for the right to education and joining the Awaaz Do movement by signing up on the campaign website or by sending a text message.
The Awaaz Do campaign uses online and mobile communications technologies to mobilize and empower people to become actively engaged in discussions and debates around child rights in general and about the right to education in particular. Supporters of the campaign choose to speak up for the cause and demand the fulfillment of every child’s right to quality education, particularly the country’s most excluded and marginalized children. “Awaaz Do” means “Speak Up” in Hindi. This is symbolized by a megaphone in the campaign logo.
The landmark passing of the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act 2009 marks a historic moment for the children of India. Few countries in the world have such a national provision to ensure child-centered, child-friendly education to help all children develop to their fullest potential. The passing of the RTE Act last year and the renewed focus on the right to education, represent an opportunity to build awareness and raise positive support, across India, for the full and sustained implementation of the RTE Act. This is an opportunity that the eight million children who are now out of school in this country cannot afford to miss.
Discussions are also ongoing on the campaign’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/unicefindia and the Twitter feed is at www.twitter.com/unicefindia. Supporters can also sign up to the campaign by sending a text message with the words “Awaaz Do” to 53030.