Gender rights activist, Deepa Mehta has been advocating for underserved women throughout her celebrated film career. As a natural continuation of her lifelong commitment to advancing global gender equality she has joined UN-recognized NGO Sambhali Trust as the honorary International Patron. Mehta is a world-renowned director, filmmaker and screenwriter whose work challenges traditions, stereotypes and gender roles. She was nominated for an Oscar for her film Water, part of her celebrated Elemental Trilogy: Earth, Fire, Water. Mehta recently released Anatomy of Violence, a film that explores the life events that led six men to gang rape and murder a woman in New Delhi, India in 2012.
Mehta visited Jodhpur, India where she spent two days meeting with the women and children beneficiaries of the grassroots NGO. Sambhali Trust focuses on the development and empowerment of disadvantaged women and girls in Rajasthan. The charity has impacted 10,000 women and children in the last decade through 17 projects that focus on education, handicraft skills, self help and health.
Mehta screened Anatomy of Violence for the women served by Sambhali Trust. The film has expanded their understanding of the root causes and complexity of brutality against women in India. She spoke with the young girls from the Trust’s boarding home to ensure that they believe that their voices and stories matter. Deepa is a hero and role model for these young, at-risk, Indian girls. Her success as an Indian woman shows them that they can also thrive outside of traditional career paths.
Mehta proclaimed that her visit to Sambhali Trust has changed her life. She was incredibly moved to hear the participants sing the powerful anthem “We Shall Overcome” at the empowerment centers. She found hope in the young girls who had no fear despite the hardships they were born into. Although the steps have been small Mehta has seen progress in India since her childhood, in the past young girls didn’t dare make eye contact, now they do so confidently. Mehta proclaimed during her visit to Sambhali Trust that women are the hope of India, that the young girls are the future.
Mehta believes that until all humans understand each other, and other genders, we will not have a better world. A better world is all that we are striving for. This aim is why Deepa came to visit Sambhali Trust. The women’s empowerment NGO is making a better world possible by promoting confidence and justice. Mehta wants to be a part of sharing this vision with the world. Through the depth of her research for her films and studies on gender equality Mehta believes that a paradigm shift must start at home. Equality will begin in each of our houses, if we treat our sons and daughters as equals they will grow up viewing the opposite sex as partners, not as a threat, or inferior. Let’s all join Mehta by looking into our own backyards to identify the root of the issue and work together to empower women in India, and around the world.
Originally published at medium.com