Baby 7 Billion: A Milestone for Girls' Survival Rights

LUCKNOW, India, Oct. 31, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Child rights organisation Plan India today celebrated the birth of a girl in Uttar Pradesh as the world's symbolic 7 billionth person. The organisation described ‘Baby 7 Billion' as a milestone for comprehensive action for survival rights of girls.

(Photo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20111031/DC96700)

In an event held outside Lucknow, the capital of India's most populous state of Uttar Pradesh, the newborn girl was given a birth certificate by the local administration.

#Baby7Billion girl was born at 7.20 am India time to Vinita (23) and Ajay (25) at a community health centre in Mall near Lucknow in India's state of Uttar Pradesh. She has been named "Nargis" - a beautiful flower. Nargis was born a healthy baby and weighed nearly 3 kgs (6lbs 60z).

Bhagyashri Dengle, Executive Director, Plan India said: "By celebrating the birth of a girl as Baby 7 Billion we are drawing attention to the serious issue of India's declining child sex ratio."

Hundreds of thousands of female foetuses are being terminated in India every year even though sex-selective abortions and use of ultrasound technology for foetal gender-determination is illegal in the country.

According to India's 2011 Census, the ratio of girls to boys has dropped to an all time low since records began. Today, there are just 914 girls for every 1,000 boys between 0 and 6 years.

Plan India has launched the Let Girls Be Born campaign in six Indian states to galvanise action to address the issue of female foeticide.

"Plan has been working in India for the last three decades and the survival, protection and development rights of girls have been a key focus of our community development work. With ‘Let Girls be Born' we are raising awareness and advocating for the fundamental survival rights of girls," added Bhagyashri Dengle.

In Uttar Pradesh, Plan's partner Vatsalya is working with communities and making them understand the social consequences of widening gender gap. Plan chose Uttar Pradesh to mark the birth of Baby 7 Billion as the state accounts not only for the highest number of births but also the highest number of ‘missing girls'. With a population bigger than that of Brazil, it has just 899 girls for every 1,000 boys. The situation is similar in other states such as Haryana, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and the country's capital, Delhi.

As part of Plan's initiative, Baby 7 Billion, along with other six newborn girls from the same community, will be sponsored by several eminent women from India. They will support the sponsored girls for the next seven years – the key period for survival and childhood development – and serve as ambassadors for girls' survival rights. The organisation will report back on the development of Baby7 Billion girls at regular intervals.

Arti Kirloskar, Secretary, Plan India Board is spearheading this initiative and the other eminent personalities joining her are: Abha Narain Lambah, Conservation architect; Anoushka Shankar, Sitarist; Mallika Sarabhai, dancer and choreographer; and Sunita Narain, environmental activist.  

Kirloskar said: "Through this small initiative we want to demonstrate that through concerted efforts we can bring in a lasting change in the lives of millions of girls. Allowing girls to be born and giving them equal chances in life is critical and it does not cost much to ensure a quality life."

For more information, please visit www.Plan-International.org.

SOURCE Plan International



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