Not a Niche

Leave it to Aziz Ansari to give culturally relevant commentary a comedic kick.
In his Netflix original series, Master of None, the comic devotes an episode to the prevailing stereotypes of how Indian people are depicted on Western television. After running into an Indian friend at a casting call, Ansari’s character, Dev, is thrown by the man’s ravings over a bodybuilding supplement called Mumbai Muscle.
“A Pea Protein marketed just toward the Indian weight lifting community? Seems a little niche,” Dev says skeptically.
His friend responds: “If you call a billion Indians niche.”
Although this scene may seem an unlikely opening note for a Commit to Change blog post, I believe Ansari’s point here is quite applicable to our organization. India is second only to China in population density, representing roughly 17 percent of the global population, according to the World Population Clock’s most recent numbers. India has also consistently been ranked as one of the worst – in some polls, THE worst – place to be a woman. Meaning that, in a lot of ways, this country has become the epicenter of women’s plight in the modern world.
In their groundbreaking study on women’s oppression, “Half the Sky,” former New York Times reporters Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn write that girls in India aged one to five are twice as likely to die as boys their same age, with the best estimate being that “a little Indian girl dies from discrimination every four minutes.” 
At the seven orphanages C2C serves, our girls (many of whom weren't technically orphaned, but rather abandoned by their families) have survived this initial gender-based purging. But the odds are still largely stacked against them, as limited employment opportunities and oppressive marital practices (including the horrors of honor killings and bride burnings) await them.
At the orphanages, however, we are faced with both the unique opportunity and challenge of crafting a safe space for these forsaken girls to heal and grow beyond what a traditionally conservative household may have condoned. By aiding and ensuring the development of educated, strong and self-reliant individuals, we can help transform India’s cast aside girls into tomorrow’s empowered women. 

ritten by: Liv McConnell