Remember ME - You Me and Dementia

Friday, December 28, 2007

The shinning star : Girl Star of UNICEF

Picture this…. Canada’s first international film festival on disability selected a 7.30 minutes long film on Anuradha the Medical Student from India for this year’s award.

Anuradha’s story of how a little girl takes up a challenge to complete her education and overcomes her disability to become a doctor is captured among the beautiful landscapes of blue houses in Jodhpur, India.

Anuradha at her medical college, ready to take on the world, is a role model among differently abled persons.

Anuradha Rathore, 19, is studying medicine at Jodhpur Medical College in Rajasthan. When Anu was young she contracted Polio – and although the disease affected the way she walks, it has not slowed Anu down in any other way.

She has studied very hard and won a place at medical college under a reservation for students with physical disabilities. Anu failed once at school and she still finds college challenging, but she is determined to be a doctor so she can prevent other children from contracting Polio.

Anuradha is a ‘girl star’ of UNICEF. Girl Stars, a series of 15 films, documenting the lives of girls from the most disadvantaged communities across five northern Indian states, are extraordinary tales of ordinary young women and girls who have changed their lives by going to school.

Girl Stars was created by Going to School, a non-profit media trust in India, and is supported by UNICEF. The films target an audience of young girls in India aged 10 to 16, who are at risk from dropping out of school, their families and decision makers in their lives.

The ‘girl stars’ have managed to break the shackles of socio-economic constraints to make a success of their lives. Having grown to become solo models within their communities, they inspire young girls to go to schools and continue their education.

Canada’s first international film festival on disability this year attracted 90 films from across 15 countries, including UK, USA, Canada, Georgia, Russia, Bangladesh, Denmark, Germany, New Zealand, France, Brazil and Netherlands. Anuradha the medical student attracted the attention of jury, who noted “this story of hope, which inspires and informs”.

During a road show organised by UNICEF in Rajasthan in the month of May 2007, this correspondent had an opportunity to meet Anuradha. She said, despite hailing from a poor family, she was given every opportunity to develop her potential as a child that helped her chose her path.

Her fight against polio may have left her with a permanent limp but could not cripple her dream of becoming a doctor. She has proved that she too is capable of performing academic feats just like any other person.

Persons with disabilities have the right to lead lives of dignity and self-respect, and should be, at the same time mainstreamed into society, said Anuradha.

“They are also equal partners in the economic progress of the country,” she added.

Anuradha firmly believes that differently abled persons should demand their rights and not sympathy or charity from people. She said that many young girls feel vindicated by the stories of girl stars and are now even more determined to see their goals turn into reality.

Girl Stars: Anuradha the Medical Student has been screened at various international film festivals, including the 2007 Schweitzer Lakedance Film Festival at Idaho, USA, the 2007 South Asian International Film Festival at New York, USA and the Kids First Film Festival, 2007, USA.


Forget yourself for others, and others will never forget you.

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