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HindustanTimes Sat,19 Apr 2014

Unicef mascot Meena on AIR from now

HT Correspondent , Hindustan Times  Lucknow, September 24, 2013
First Published: 09:28 IST(24/9/2013) | Last Updated: 12:18 IST(24/9/2013)

Starting on Tuesday, 103 episodes of ‘Meena Ki Duniya’ have been planned for broadcast in the academic session 2013-14 during school hours through 12 stations of AIR in Uttar Pradesh.

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For almost two decades now, Meena has been the voice of the voiceless.

She is just like any other child in Uttar Pradesh.

She wants to study. She questions a society that has not been fair to the girl child.

She is brave and courageous and solves problems in interesting and entertaining ways.

“Instructions have been sent to all districts to purchase radio sets from the school development fund and three master trainers from each district have been trained at the state level with the support of the UNICEF. These master trainers have in turn oriented all the block education officers who have facilitated the orientation of the headmasters,” said state project director, Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, UP Amrita Soni.

Meena ki Duniya is an innovative and engaging radio programme that uses the entertainment-education genre to create a fun-learning environment in school.

“A study facilitated by UNICEF reveals that after listening to Meena Radio, 76% children reported new information gain, 57% reported initiating discussion with friends and 67% took positive action like washing hands with soap, maintaining cleanliness in and around the house and school, helping others, eating green vegetables, fruits, keeping nails short and clean, using bins to dump garbage and planting trees in school,” said communication for development specialist, UNICEF Bhai Shelly.

The presence of almost 40,000 Meena Manch in UP and the continuous broadcast of Meena Radio episodes for the past three years have gone a long way in turning ‘Meena’ into a living legend, calling for social change.

The transformation is not just Meena’s. Several girls and boys in UP in the past three years have been inspired to develop exemplary qualities of ‘Meena’ and have been motivated to make their world happier and just.

These children have been the proud recipients of the Meena Ratna Award. The story does not end here.

With the growing popularity of the Meena Radio episodes across different states, the broadcasts will surely become a powerful tool to initiate discussions on various social themes relevant to adolescent girls and boys and will encourage many more children to aspire to be real life heroes, in fact real - life ‘Meenas’!

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