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Punjabi woman from Canada aims to curb foeticide

vancouverdesi.com  Vancouver, January 10, 2013
First Published: 15:35 IST(10/1/2013) | Last Updated: 21:34 IST(10/1/2013)

Deesh Sekhon couldn't bear the stories of unwanted daughters left to die in her home country.


The Abbotsford Punjabi mother has delved deep into the issues of 'gendercide' after seeing the independent film, 'It's A Girl', which was shot on locations in India and China. The truth unfolded before her as she heard about baby girls abandoned in Punjab, left in the street to die, poisoned, or aborted when the sex was determined.

"People hear about it, but when you see it and you hear these stories and you see these women, you're like, 'Wow, this is present day; it's really happening,'" Sekhon told Vancouver Desi. "It really just affected me, really harshly… I needed to do something."

So she created GirlKind Foundation, which was officially launched last September. Her first campaign was to collect items she donated to a "cradle program" in Punjab that takes in abandoned girls. And now her mission is to continue donating to charities like this, along with bringing awareness about the issue that exists not only in India but across the world, including Canada.

"It's a huge problem in the South-Asian culture," she said. "Women of my generation feel the unspoken pressure of bearing a son."

"We need to understand why it's happening in China, why it's happening in India, why it's happening in Europe, why it's happening in our own backyard."

GirlKind's launch on September 15 also marked the first-ever screening of the film that inspired her, 'It's a Girl', which garnered great response.

"Since the first screening it's had such an impact that it opened up a lot of conversations since we started on this journey." she said.

She's been holding screenings across the Lower Mainland since, and now organising another at Kwantlen Polytechnic University in Surrey on January 30.

She said, "As human beings we need to be aware about this," said Sekhon. "There are so many people going to India on a yearly basis. What if we can inspire them to do something for these girls?"

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