Bollywood star Amitabh Bachchan is donating tens of thousands of pounds to our Because I am a Girl campaign in India. Our campaign aims to support four million girls to stay in education and fulfil their potential. At least one in five adolescent girls around the world is denied an education because of poverty, conflict and discrimination. Every day, girls are taken out of school and forced into work, or married off to strangers where they risk isolation and abuse. Missing out on school can mark the end of a girl having any choice over her own future.
“I have always believed there is no difference between a male and a female child,” says Amitabh. “I have a son and daughter and whatever little we have will be equally divided.”
Spurred into action
He was joined by his wife Jaya, his son Abhishek and his daughter-in-law, Aishwarya Rai, to make the announcement in Delhi. The star explained on social networking site Twitter that high profile sex attacks in India – such as the recent rape and murder of a young woman in Delhi – had spurred them into action.
Funds will come from an art exhibition organised for Amitabh’s 70th Birthday last October 11, which happened to coincide with the first ever International Day of the Girl. The United Nations introduced the day after a long campaign led by Plan. Sales of a special book published to mark Amitabh’s birthday celebrations will also go to Plan.
“We welcome the incredible support of the Bachchan family in advancing the rights of girls and helping to end poverty,” says Tanya Barron, Chief Executive of Plan UK. “Girls must be given the same opportunities as boys – to life and to education.”
“It is the birthright of every child to be enabled and empowered in life,” says Aishwarya Rai, Amitabh’s daughter-in-law who also a major Bollywood star. “We collectively feel attention needs to be given to every child irrespective of gender.”
Children involved in Plan’s work in India presented a large painting they created called ‘The Making of Superstar’ to Amitabh. It depicts elements of his career, from his youth, to his portrayals of angry young men and his present role as host of the popular TV show ‘Kaun Banega Crorepati’ - the Indian version of ‘Who Wants to be a Millionaire’.
Find out more about our Because I am a Girl campaign.