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Atrocity against any child is everyone’s problem: Priyanka Chopra

Jan 01, 2018

Interacting with a group of young girls and boys along with media, during a special interaction in New Delhi, UNICEF Global Goodwill Ambassador, Priyanka Chopra said that adolescents in India are facing a unique set of challenges. In an exclusive interview to Ashok Kumar of OneWorld South Asia, Priyanka said atrocities of any kind against children should be a problem for every individual, the whole society. Excerpts from the interview:

Priyanka Chopra Adolescent

New Delhi: India is home to more than 243 million adolescents, who account for about a quarter of the country’s population. Integrated efforts are crucial for the socio-economic development of teenagers with a special focus on adolescent empowerment.

Former Miss World Priyanka Chopra strongly believes that ending child marriage, enabling access to secondary education and transition to work can be a game changer for India’s future growth and development.

OneWorld South Asia: What is that one challenge related to women or girls that bothers you the most?

Priyanka Chopra: I don’t think it is fair to say one is better than the other or one is less than the other. Any atrocity against any child is a problem and it should be that much of a problem for each one of us.

"Atrocity against any child is everyone’s problem" Priyanka Chopra.

I think that just the fact that we are allowed to take away children’s rights. Children are our future, why don’t we think about them, our future.

OWSA: In what ways can violence against children, especially girls, jeopardise the progress and harmony of our society?

Priyanka: Violence against children including girls and boys, whether it is sexual violence, physical violence or emotional violence, taints not just one child who is the victim of course, but our whole future.

I strongly believe that our regular efforts in empowering adolescent girls will definitely contribute to the growth of our country.

A girl who is married as a child is more likely to be out of school, experience domestic violence. She is more likely to have children when she is still a child. There are more chances of her dying due to complications during pregnancy and childbirth.

OWSA: What inspires you to advocate for the cause of children?

Priyanka: Around 60% of the population is below the age of 35. India is one of the youngest countries in the world. India has a big responsibility towards the world as well. Hence, I am advocating for all these issues.

Teenage populations are a unique demographic asset that is often overlooked. Young adolescents are often invisible in discourse and data, falling between programmes and policies focused on children and on the youth.

By investing in adolescent education and training, developing countries like India can reap a large and productive workforce, contributing significantly to the growth of national economies.

OWSA: How are girls more vulnerable than boys during adolescence?

Priyanka: Adolescence offers a second chance to those who may not have got the required support during their childhood period. While adolescence is an age of opportunity, it is also a time of vulnerability.

Adolescent girls may be vulnerable to child marriage, dropping out of school, face gender based violence at home and in public spaces and have limited opportunities to transition into paid, formal work. During this period, adolescent boys, may be vulnerable to paid child labour and consequently miss school too.

Adolescents need to be given tools to improve their lives. This will help create a generation of economically-independent citizens who will actively contribute to their communities. Investment in adolescents can lift millions out of poverty by creating a constructive and skilled workforce.

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