Day 9: Breakthrough, United States/India
Breakthrough is a global human rights organization that seeks to inspire a new generation of human rights leaders. Breakthrough believes that we all have a role to play in making a difference and protecting human rights throughout the world. Violence against women is a global pandemic that touches every part of our lives. Breakthrough works to break the cycle of violence by helping to create safe homes for women and children, inspiring action to prevent domestic violence, and working with communities to stop the practices of sex selective elimination and early marriage.
As Breakthrough Founder and President Mallika Dutt explains, communications plays a key role in the organization’s efforts. “Breakthrough is all about telling stories,” Mallika said. “Stories that connect us, stories that inspire us and stories that can change us. From our very inception, we have used multimedia, art and culture as an integral part of our strategy to transform hearts, minds, and actions.”
Breakthrough leverages a diverse array of media to help communicate their messages—from puppet theater and folk dance to comics and online games. The organization believes that everyone should take part in the conversation, even if they don’t have WiFi connections or smart phones. For more than a decade, Breakthrough has identified innovative ways to reach their audience.
One of Breakthrough’s most successful campaigns is Bell Bajao (Ring the Bell), which calls on men and boys to take a stand against domestic violence. Bell Bajao’s TV, radio, and print ads have reached more than 130 million people in India alone. They depict men and boys intervening in domestic violence disputes by ringing the door bell and creating a diversion. Since the launch of the Bell Bajao campaign, there has been a 15 percent increase in violence reporting and an astounding 40 percent increase in the recognition that violence against women it wrong. The Bell Bajao concept has been featured in popular Indian soap operas and has even been a question on India’s Who Wants to Be a Millionaire. It is clear that Bell Bajao is deeply embedded in India’s popular culture and beyond.