Breakthrough was founded in 1999 to address the issue of violence against women and girls by making use of culture to change culture, and acknowledging that social norms are the key to changing how women and girls in India experience their lives. Our mission is to work towards making violence and discrimination against women and girls unacceptable. We do this by transforming the underlying cultural norms that perpetuate regressive practices. We envision a world in which all people enjoy their human rights and live with dignity, equality and justice.
Since its inception, Breakthrough has pioneered the approach that ‘change starts with you’ and the use of pop culture, arts and media, combined with partner engagement to ensure our message has maximum impact. This was well illustrated through our highly effective Ring the Bell/Bell Bajao campaign which pioneered the concept that engaging men and boys as allies is a critical part of the solution towards preventing violence against women and developing mutually respectful, nonviolent relationships.
Since 2012, Breakthrough has been working with adolescents through an Adolescent Empowerment Programme (AEP) to shape their gender attitudes and behaviours at a stage when their views are still malleable, and more progressive, gender equitable thinking can be instilled. By working with adolescents, young adults, and their communities, we catalyse change and transform patriarchal norms so that girls are valued, are free to make their own life choices, and violence is unacceptable in their communities.
We now aim to scale-up both directly and in partnership with state governments, so that young people across India can pave the way to a more gender equal society. At present we are partnering with state governments of Punjab and Odisha over the next 5 years, to ensure incorporation of a gender lens into government school syllabi.
Over the next five years, Breakthrough aims to shape the gender views of more than 2 million adolescents by transforming the school system in these states to be more gender responsive.