GENDERCIDE: Movie sparked action by Abbotsford mother

LARISSA CAHUTE
VANCOUVER DESI

Left to right: Deesh Sekhon (founder), Rimmi Deol and Aman Gill with GirlKind Foundation. Submitted photo.

Deesh Sekhon couldn’t bear the stories of unwanted daughters left to die in her home country.

The Abbotsford Punjabi mother has delved deep into the issues of gendercide after seeing the independent film It’s A Girl, which was shot on location in India and China.

The truth unfolded before her as she heard about baby girls abandoned in Punjab, left in the street to die, poisoned, or aborted when the sex was determined.

“People hear about it, but when you see it and you hear these stories and you see these women, you’re like, ‘Wow, this is present day — it’s really happening,’” Sekhon told Vancouver Desi. “It really just affected me — really harshly … I needed to do something.”

So she created GirlKind Foundation, which officially launched last September.

Her first campaign collected items she donated to a “cradle program” in Punjab that takes in abandoned girls. And now her mission is to continue donating to charities like this, but also to bring awareness of the issue that exists not only in India, but across the world — including right here in Canada

“It’s a huge problem in the South Asian culture,” she said. “Women of my generation feel the unspoken pressure of bearing a son.

“We need to understand why it’s happening in China, why it’s happening in India, why it’s happening in Europe, why it’s happening in our own backyard.”

GirlKind’s launch on Sept. 15 also marked the first-ever screening of the film that inspired her, It’s A Girl — and it garnered great response.

“Since the first screening it’s had such an impact,” she said. “It’s opened up a lot of conversations since we started on this journey.”

IFRAME Embed for Youtube

She’s been holding screenings across the Lower Mainland since, with the fourth taking place at Kwantlen Polytechnic University in Surrey on Jan. 30.

“As human beings we need to be aware of this,” said Sekhon. “There’s so many people going to India on a yearly basis — what if we can inspire them to do something for these girls?

“I don’t have the solutions — we all together have the solution.”

Tickets for the screening are $10 and can be purchased at GirlKind.org. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. Wed. Jan. 30.

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