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BREAKTHROUGH seeks to make discrimination and violence against women and girls unacceptable everywhere and in all its forms, including domestic violence, sexual harassment in public spaces, early marriage, and gender-biased sex selection.

We address these issues through the lens of gender, sexuality and human rights. 

Breakthrough’s work in India is focused on creating gender parity in school – a large barrier to girls completing education up to at least the secondary level (high school-aged  – 14-18 – though more similar in function to school systems in Europe). The work also focuses on empowering adolescents, creating aspirations for them and helping them to dream of a more equitable future.

Where we work in India

  • Haryana
  • Delhi city
  • Uttar Pradesh
  • Bihar
  • Jharkhand

Violence Against Women in India

  • More than a third of all women worldwide – 35.6% – will experience physical or sexual violence in their life=me.
    • Out of this 41% are in South Asia.
    • Nearly 241.5 million women in India can be affected by this.

Activities

  • Campaigns
    • Mass media, digital, and on-the-ground action
  • Leadership Training
    • Campaign skills, digital and social media skills, other skills training, and issue training
  • Community mobilization
    • Video van, theatre, puppet shows, and local art and culture

Current Activities and Impact

Ending Early (“Child”) Marriage: Gang of Stars (Taaron ki Toli)

Breakthrough believes youth can transform society by challenging the gender norms that contribute to girls and women having less worth, opportunity, and agency than boys and men. Our Gang of Stars program trains teachers in 500 government schools to empower 400,000 youth to take action on issues of gender rights and equality in their schools, communities, and families. Students use their training to stop early marriage, complete their education, access health services—and follow their dreams and create a more equitable future.

Karuna’s Story: One day at the Government school in Siriyawan village, a student named Karuna  went to the principal sobbing, asking for help. Her parents were planning her wedding, believing it was for her own good. Luckily, a teacher intervened and worked with Karuna’s parents. In the end, Karuna’s parents decided against marrying off their daughter at such an early age. This is a direct result of Breakthrough’s effective Taaron ki Toli program involving school children, teachers, and principals to educate them on the consequences of early marriage for actionable change.

Impact and Reach:

  • We are scaling up across 19 districts of 5 states, to reach 1.5 million youth by 2022.
  • We launched an interactive “video van” equipped with a theatre team and audio-visual facility to engage audiences around early marriage, traveling to communities in 7 districts in 203 days with 635 shows, and providing resources such as 24-hour emergency services for children.

Stree (Woman) Link: Creating a Work Environment Free of Violence in the Apparel Industry

We are seeking to transform the apparel industry—not only to end gender-based violence, sexual harassment, and discrimination—but also to advance the rights of women to health, nutrition, and mobility in the workplace. We are working with 12,000 women, men, and girls on factory floors—from factory managers to workers—to challenge harmful norms and practices through a comprehensive program called Stree Link. This includes raising awareness among women and girls of their rights, sexual harassment laws, and how to access them.

Impact and Reach:

  • 300,000 people reached through in-depth training and school-based programs
  • 15 million reached through community mobilization and 349 million through mass media
  • Age of marriage increased by 1.7 years in districts where we work in Jharkhand and Bihar
  • Demand for domestic violence services increased 15%, demonstrating activating of rights

Ending Gender-Biased Sex Selection: Mission Hazaar

In many parts of India, the birth of a boy is celebrated, whereas the birth of a girl is not. This is due to gender-biased sex selection, a practice rooted in attitudes that women are less valuable than men. When society views girls as a burden, it further perpetuates the cycle of discrimination against women. Our Mission Hazaar program works to change these deep-seated norms and practices.

Impact and Reach:

  • Over 55,000 people have viewed the videos and over 11,000 have played the game.
  • Our school-based intervention in Haryana reaches 18,000 children in 150 schools.
  • 30% of youth who saw the campaign committed to act against gender based discrimination.
  • The rural outreach spanned 77 days, reaching over 130,000 people in Haryana.

Support Breakthrough’s Work in India

Story of Change: Krati

A survivor of sexual violence as a child, Krati joined Breakthrough ten years ago as a volunteer. Her first brush with the ugly side of male dominance was at the age of six when a close relative sexually assaulted her. Confused and distressed with the experience, but was hushed up and asked to be silent to protect the family honor and maintain harmony. Her battle for gender justice started at home but didn’t stop there. Today, she leads a team of 14 to implement programs that reach over 400,000 adolescent youth in Uttar Pradesh in India. Through Breakthrough, she was able to break her silence about her experience, share her story, and advocate for her dignity and human rights. She is using those same tools to help empower young girls and their peers to do the same.

About Krati in her own words:

My battle for change started first with me. I was born in a middle class family that professed to be liberal and gender neutral. However, what is preached is not practiced and women and girls continue to have a lower status in the household of which I was made aware at a very young age. While the women of the house are well provided for, they lack any decision making abilities. The food that is cooked at home is based on the likes and dislikes of the men of the house and male siblings and cousins are given better education opportunities. Men rule supreme.

My first brush with ugly side of male dominance was at the tender age of six when I was sexually assaulted by a close relative. Confused and distressed at the occurrence, when I narrated it to my parents, I was hushed up and asked to be silent to protect the family honor and maintain harmony. The experience not only marred my childhood but also my growing up years and I bore my cross till I graduated from university. The frustration was stifling and I started questioning the falsity of relationships. I reached breaking point when I was asked to take care of the same relative when he was sick and infirm I spoke up for the first time. The battle for gender justice ride began at home and there has been no looking back. It hasn’t been a smooth ride as many a times I have had to bow down to well entrenched social norms. But I have been undeterred in my pursuit as I realize that in order to change the outer world, I first need to change my own world and their mindsets.

One of my friends referred me for gender training in Delhi, which I decided to attend. This is the first time when I informed my parents rather than asking. I informed them that I am attending training in Delhi. This was my first step towards change in my own life and I got in touch with Breakthrough.

Breakthrough gave me a platform to voice my concerns, break my silence and share my story.  My journey with the organization has traversed from being a volunteer to currently leading a team of 14 in the state. I now work tirelessly to create awareness on gender based discrimination and violence and make people realize that violence is not a private matter and the deafening silence needs to be broken at all levels. I realize that I have taken on a mammoth challenge but I am determined to make a difference however small in the lives of women and girls.

It also made me realize the enormity of gender based violence that women experience but are unable to speak about and I decided to be the medium that would enable them to speak up on violence against women and girls. Breakthrough has played an important role in reshaping me from being a silent victim to a strong survivor and feminist.