The Invisible Girl Project: Saving Lives in India

logo-igpIn a recent trip to South India, I visited one of Invisible Girl Project’s partners that rescues and cares for unwanted baby girls.  Rather than letting them be killed or trafficked, this home will take girls in, care for them, educate them, and teach them their inherent value…as human beings.  The home has been rescuing and caring for girls for years, raising them, and then providing college educations or trades for them, preparing them for a future. Invisible Girl Project has been supporting them for the past three years.

I always love to visit this place, this home for girls.  It is in the middle of lush Indian countryside, sprawled across 100 acres.  When I enter the front gate, the Director always welcomes me “home.”  I see familiar faces of little girls I met years ago and who remember my name.  I smile as I hear the singing and laughter as over 150 little girls play and get to act like little girls.  It does feel like “home” in so many ways for both my wife and me.

On this trip, I had time to spend with the Director and asked him if he would share some stories with me that I had not heard before in other visits…stories of some of the little girls who had been rescued and whose lives had been changed.  As we sat in his office, he reached into one of his file cabinets and handed me a yellowed piece of paper that had a picture of a baby girl at the top and the name printed in large letters, “Kousalya.”  Her story read as follows:

There was hush-talk of suspicion over a bag left at the gate of the baby home at 5 A.M.  The weather was chill, cooled by the drizzle.  When we went nearby, our hearts almost froze by the sight of the girl baby wrapped in rags and kept inside a nylon handbag.  It was divine providence that the stray dogs did not damage the bag with the human babe inside.  A note inside the bag read, ‘I am too weak and old to rear this child.’ Surely it is a gift of God for us to care for the gift of life of this baby.

Having heard a number of stories over the years about the little girls who had been saved, I had never had the chance to read the story of Kousalya.  In fact, I probably could not pick her out of the crowd of girls that normally swarmed me every time I visited.  No, Kousalya was not a name or a face I knew.  I asked the Director, “Is she here?”  He replied that she was indeed and that she was a little shyer than the other girls, but if I would like to meet her, he would introduce me.

We left his office and strolled the grounds to find her.  Encountering a number of girls who were running and playing, we eventually approached a quiet group of four little girls sitting on the ground.  As they sat reading and doing homework, the Director said, “Kousalya, please come here.”  She stood quickly, obeying.  He then said, “Kousalya, this is Brad uncle.”

She was beautiful, about 11 years old…Full of life and light in her eyes.  I smiled at her and asked, “Kousalya, how long have you lived here?”

She responded, “As long as I can remember.  I came when I was a little baby.  I am studying very well.  I have many friends.”

I smiled and thanked her. I then thought to myself, that Kousalya was given a chance that every girl—every person in India deserves.  She was rescued and has been cared for, unlike other girls in India, who are murdered as little babies.  She was thriving, unlike other little girls in India who are abandoned or neglected.  She was being educated and cared for, unlike other little girls in India who are seen as a commodity and are trafficked into brothels at such tender ages.

Yes.  She had a home, where they believed it was a “gift of God” to raise her.  A home.  And, seeing the tangible result of the rescue and care for Kousalya reminded me why my wife and I feel like it is “home” too.

While IGP’s partner organization is not the ultimate answer to ending gendercide in India, this organization is acting to save lives of girls, just like Kousalya, one girl at a time.  And, if one girl at a time learns that her life is valuable, just because she is a human being, then the Indian culture can begin to be changed, one child at a time.

Mother Teresa once said, “If I look at the mass I will never act. If I look at the one, I will.”  IGP supports Indian organizations that help save and transform the lives of little girls like Kousalya, one at a time.

The Invisible Girl Project is part of the It’s a Girl action campaign. Please consider donating to them through the It’s a Girl Causes campaign.



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Brad McElya and his wife, Jill founded Invisible Girl Project (IGP) in 2009, while living in India.  Now a non-profit organization based in the U.S., IGP is a grassroots organization that supports Indian organizations that rescue vulnerable girls and care for them, transforming their lives, and teaching them their inherent value.  Brad and Jill regularly travel to India to visit IGP’s partners and support their organizational and financial needs.

The views expressed by guest contributors to the “It’s a Girl” blog represent the opinion of the individual author who contributes the content and should not be interpreted as being endorsed or approved by Shadowline Films. We feature these contributions to foster dialogue and exchange on gendercide and invite our readership to join the discussion.


Why I Founded Women’s Rights Without Frontiers

I first learned about China’s One Child Policy while working as a litigation attorney in the early nineties. My client was seeking political asylum after escaping from a Chinese government that had forcibly sterilized her. I was shocked to discover that her case was not unique and that under China’s coercive family planning policy, women are routinely dragged from their homes and made to have abortions. Because some of these procedures are so violent, the mothers often end up dying along with their unborn children.

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Also, baby girls are selectively aborted, just because they are girls.  China has the worst gender ratio in the world:  120 boys born for every 100 girls born.  Girls are also abandoned at birth — left out to die.

I founded Women’s Rights Without Frontiers to fight this injustice and give people worldwide direct ways to help save lives in China. Our projects support mothers who are at risk of aborting or abandoning their baby girls and pregnant women without birth permits who are in hiding to escape forced abortions.  We are already saving lives!

Help us stop the violence and end the One Child Policy by making a contribution to our projects that are making a difference for girls in China. Together we can expose the brutality of China’s One Child policy, take a stand for these countless silenced women and girls, and save lives.

Donate to Women’s Right Without Frontiers


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Reggie Littlejohn is Founder and President of Women’s Rights Without Frontiers, an international coalition to expose and oppose forced abortion, gendercide and sexual slavery in China.  She also led the international effort to free blind activist Chen Guangcheng, who arrived in the United States on May 19, 2012.

An acclaimed international expert on China’s One Child Policy, she has testified six times at the United States Congress, twice at the European Parliament, and at the British and Irish Parliaments as well.  She was told that in 2008, she was the first person ever to address the European Parliament on the One Child Policy. This first Address at the European Parliament was included as a chapter in the book, Human Rights in China After the Olympic Games, (Human Rights Without Frontiers, 2009), available on

The views expressed by guest contributors to the “It’s a Girl” blog represent the opinion of the individual author who contributes the content and should not be interpreted as being endorsed or approved by Shadowline Films. We feature these contributions to foster dialogue and exchange on gendercide and invite our readership to join the discussion.

It’s a Girl Documentary Inspires Vienna Symposium on Femicide

IMG 0182I first learned of the horrible phenomenon of femicide through data from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the Small Arms Survey report. We (the Academic Council on the United Nations-Vienna – ACUNS) had decided to do a side event at the UN Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Commission in April 2012. Our ACUNS team was looking for interesting speakers and possible films to screen for that event, when my wife noticed an article in the Independent (January 16), which mentioned the film “It’s A Girl”. We managed to track down the producer Andrew Brown. Actually, we thought the film was already completed and then entered into a continuing discussion over several months about whether we could screen the film at the UN Office in Vienna. In the end, we recommended that It’s Girl be premiered at the Vienna Human Rights Film Festival, which it was on December 4 to a sold out crowd.

But after previewing the documentary It’s a Girl, our ACUNS team felt compelled to do even more in the fight against femicide. So we organized a one-day symposium at the UN in Vienna on fighting femicide.

IMG 0244The symposium took place on November 26 on the occasion of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. This symposium could not have taken place without the support of the Austrian Federal Ministry for European and International Affairs; the Permanent Missions to the UN Office at Vienna of Austria, Argentina, Philippines, Thailand, and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland; Small Arms Survey; and the Vienna NGO Committee on the Status of Women.

State representatives, social scientists, NGO representatives, statisticians, lawyers and feminist activists had the opportunity to speak about femicide, explain its meaning and causes, but also presented examples of best practice in fighting femicide.

The Executive Director of UN Women, Michelle Bachelet, opened the symposium with a video message and expressed her support for this endeavor.

Dr. Ranjana Kumari of the Centre for Social Research and Rita Banerji of the 50 Million Missing Campaign, two of the experts from India featured in It’s a Girl, were among the other presenters.

The symposium culminated with Dr. Eduardo Vetere, former Head of the UN Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Programme, presenting the Vienna Declaration on Femicide. This document urges not only UN member states, but also UN organizations and civil society to join forces and take responsibility to put an end to femicide. The declaration was signed by the participants of the symposium as well as by Austria, Slovenia, the Philippines and Norway.

ACUNS Vienna intends to bring the issue of femicide, together with the supporting states and partners of the symposium, to the 57th session of the Commission on the Status of Women, which will take place in New York from 4-15 March 2013 and will focus on the elimination and prevention of all forms of violence against women and girls.

IMG 0401The It’s a Girl documentary played a vital role in mobilizing our ACUNS team to organize the femicide symposium.  Now that it has been released with great fanfare, we look forward to screening this powerful film to additional groups interested in the topic.

For more information or if you wish to sign the declaration please contact


The text of the Declaration is available to download here: Vienna Declaration on Femicide

pdfDownload full report on the Vienna Symposium(4.07 MB)


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Michael K. Platzer is a Liaison Officer for the Academic Council on the United Nations and Chair of the Vienna NGO Alliance for Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice.  He served for 34 years in the United Nations Secretariat in various capacities in the Office of the Secretary General, human rights, technical cooperation, HABITAT, UNDP, peacekeeping, and the Office on Drugs and Crime. 



The views expressed by guest contributors to the “It’s a Girl” blog represent the opinion of the individual author who contributes the content and should not be interpreted as being endorsed or approved by Shadowline Films. We feature these contributions to foster dialogue and exchange on gendercide and invite our readership to join the discussion.



There is Heart in Hope

I have written about this issue so many times on my blog…but every single time I start…I am at a loss for words. How do I write about this? How can I say what I want to say without using so many numbers and statistics. Over 50 million (yes, million!!), 70 million or 100 million girls and women missing?? No-one really knows the numbers. I mean, there is no real way to calculate female fetuses and girls that are killed in the womb through sex elective abortions. There is no way to tell how many baby girls are suffocated to death…it’s all very hidden so it’s impossible to get a real number. But when you see a very skewed gender ratio in India and China…you start to get a clearer picture of the magnitude of the gendercide that is happening right now halfway across the world. But really, it’s only a heartbeat away…because these girls are our daughters…these women are our sisters.

This is what’s true. When we were in Vancouver a few months ago, I went to see a special screening of the movie It’s a Girl. Afterwards..I plunged into a dark place. I cried and cursed and ranted on and on. Then I cried + cursed some more. It broke my heart. And it pissed me off. And in between all of that…I was ever so thankful that Tara was not born in a culture and society were this was permitted. But then something happened…a shift in me, in my heart + mind. There are millions of Taras that are not permitted to be born there…that are never allowed this most basic right…the right to live!!! And I realised that it is not enough, not enough, not enough…for me to be grateful that my daughter was not born there.

Rita Banerji, who is doing the heart wrenching work of addressing this atrocity, has been trying to get heard at the United Nations. And…it’s finally happened!!! Currently the U.N. does not recognise gender based genocide as a human right violation. Rita is trying to change that. She is going to present this genocide at a U.N. conference in Vienna and she needs your help!! Can you please sign this petition right here to say that women’s rights are human rights!! Because there is strength in our voices, there is courage in our actions and there is heart in hope.


51 soraya nulliah blog portraitOriginally posted on Soraya Nulliah’s personal blog at 

Soraya Nulliah is an Indo-Canadian mixed media artist who currently lives in the U.S. with her husband and baby girl. She is also a writer, budding photographer and creative soul who believes, with all her heart, that our stories deeply matter. Our stories of hope, of pain, of joy, of promise; they all connect us to each other and to our deepest selves. 


The views expressed by guest contributors to the “It’s a Girl” blog represent the opinion of the individual author who contributes the content and should not be interpreted as being endorsed or approved by Shadowline Films. We feature these contributions to foster dialogue and exchange on gendercide and invite our readership to join the discussion.

Director Evan Grae Davis gives TED Talk in India

I was honored to join a select group of speakers at the December 2nd, 2012 TEDxGateway event in Mumbai, India. The largest TEDx event in South Asia, TEDxGateway draws an audience of nearly 1000 leaders and influencers from India and throughout the region to hear short talks on “ideas worth spreading”. The talks cover innovative and engaging topics ranging from new technology to social and medical concerns.

I presented some short scenes from the film along with hard-hitting statistics from India and China that provided the audience with an astounding picture of the scope of gendercide and it’s impact on millions of girls throughout the world today, and then challenged all present to join in the fight to end it.

It was a great privilege for me to stand on that prestigious red circle on the stage in Mumbai and connect with influencers from throughout India about what we can do to work together to end the social evil of gendercide. Judging by the collective gasps coming from the audience when I showed segments from the film, they seemed to have been deeply impacted.


It’s easy to assume that Indians are fully aware of the problem, but I’ve found that while everyone is familiar with the general issue, many in India are still shocked when we present the full scope of the assault on women and girls.
Reaching the Indian audience with this important message is a priority for us, and so we have committed to making the film available at a significant discount to those who will host screenings in communities throughout India. Our hope is that those who attended will share the film and engage their circles of influence in exploring solutions to restore dignity and worth to the girls of India.
From the Aral Sea disaster in Eastern Europe to poverty in Africa to social transformation among tribal groups of South America, “It’s a Girl” director Evan Grae Davis has traveled the globe with camera in hand for 16 years. Evan has dedicated his career to advocating for social justice through writing and directing short documentaries and educational videos championing the cause of the poor and exploited. Evan draws from his experience and passion as he lends leadership to Shadowline Films, a team of filmmakers who share a common concern for the critical issues of our time. It’s a Girl is his first feature-length documentary.