The Hero Project, WGLG’s social change campaign in India, was created in the direct wake of the tragic gang-rape and murder of a young female medical student (affectionately called “Nirbhaya” – fearless one – in Indian media) on a New Delhi bus – a story that sparked outrage and action among communities all over India and across the globe. Encouraging young men and boys to take heroic actions against gender-based violence and discrimination in their own communities, The Hero Project was built to evoke personal reflection, a sense of responsibility, and a fresh perspective on masculinity. For those present at The Hero Project’s launch on December 16, 2013, exactly one year after “Nirbhaya’s” tragic assault, the room crackled with the urgency of these messages for young Indian men.
The event opened with a premier screening of Men Against the Tide – a powerful film co-produced by ITVS International and CNN-IBN. Profiling diverse male role models from around the country who empower women using everything from sports to skills training to religious participation to community theater – the film reflects the The Hero Project’s messages of responsibility and everyday heroism. Following a panel discussion composed of esteemed gender experts, the audience had the privilege to interact with the film’s producer and protagonists. During the post-screening discussion, producer Priyali Sur commented, “While documenting, I realised that in addition to the extraordinary stories of men who do something heroic in the eyes of the society like saving a girl’s life or stopping violence, it is equally important to acknowledge and celebrate the ordinary life of men. How in an ordinary way in their life and relationships they positively impact gender violence.”
Through films like Men Against the Tide, and other compelling Women of the World films, The Hero Project will continue to encourage young men and boys to seek out, and eventually to become, positive role models – role models who redefine what it means to be masculine, whether through a single heroic act, or through their day-to-day commitment to making their world better for the women in their lives.
Watch Men Against the Tide here, and learn more about The Hero Project on Facebook!