two girls performing in a play
Performances save girls’ lives
It’s evening in the little town of Jamkhed. By a temple at a busy street crossing, one of Ashok’s Girls Clubs is performing a theatre piece about girls’ rights.

Koyal, 14, and Dipali, 13, perform a sentimental dance and acting number. The audience, which includes boys, girls, men and women of all ages, is transfixed.
“Street plays are a brilliant way of getting people to learn important things,” says Koyal.

children watching a play

The song in our dance number is about not killing girls but instead giving us a chance to go to school and have a good life. In India, girls can be killed before they are born by parents having abortions if they find out they’re carrying a girl. Sometimes girls are even killed after the birth when they discover the baby is a girl,” says Dipali sadly.

Koyal nods and tries to explain:
“A girl’s family pays a dowry to the husband’s family when she marries. They pay for the entire wedding party, give money, household items, goats, cars and other gifts to the husband’s family. The dowry is too much for many poor families, and that’s why they decide to get rid of daughters. A son doesn’t cost money. Instead, a new girl with a dowry joins the family when the son gets married. The family earns money from a son and loses money fr

two girls

No to dowries! “Dowries are really bad. They create major problems for girls. They’re illegal, but it happens anyway,” says Koyal. Koyal wants to be a doctor and Dipali a policewoman.

“I get so angry when I think about it! It’s wrong,

and that’s why we have street plays. We try and change people’s way of seeing girls. That girls have the same worth as boys,” says Dipali. But although the Girls Club plays are often about serious subjects, and they are performed in front of a large audience, the girls don’t hesitate for one second.
“We’re not a bit nervous when we perform, it’s just fun. And important. We’re going to carry on with this for a long time!”

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