Local South Asian Organizations Look to Empower Female Youth


BALIKA (Girl Child)


balikaPratibha Arts joins forces with Besharam to honour the power and resilience of female youth in Balika, an event featuring South Asian and female-powered performances on August 18, 2013, 8:00 pm at Lula Lounge, 1585 Dundas Street West. Proceeds from Balika will promote girls’ rights and help end gender inequality through Plan Canada’s Because I am a Girl initiative. www.mybindi.com is the official media sponsor and the event is hosted by Anjum Nayyar, Publisher of www.masalamommas.com, the first online magazine for South Asian mothers.

The event will also feature a special keynote address by Almas Jiwani, President of the UN National Committee on Women.

The initiative for Balika is the vision of Bageshree Vaze, Artistic Director of Pratibha Arts, and an award-winning Indo-Canadian dance artist and musician. Vaze produces a number of annual arts events, including ‘Spectrum,’ a multi-disciplinary series in co-production with the Harbourfront Centre. For Balika, Vaze wanted to bring together artists and South Asians to celebrate the positive aspects of their culture in a way to create awareness surrounding the suppression of young girls’ dreams. The initiative comes in light of recent acts of violence against young girls in South Asia and Canada.


Founder, Balika, Bageshree Vaze

“It saddens me that in this day and age girls are oppressed and that we are still a long way from that violence ending,” says Vaze, who has a six-year-old daughter. “There has been so much negative publicity surrounding South Asian countries and their treatment of women, so I wanted to have an event that would highlight positive aspects of our culture.”

Pratibha Arts is collaborating on the event with Besharam, a monthly club/dance party series for young South Asians, and www.mybindi.com, the premiere South Asian online source. Balika will feature performances by Indo-Canadian dance company Raagini Dance, Flamenco dance artist Carmen Romero, social activist-dance artist Ashima Suri, hip-hop artist Diana Reyes, and Bageshree Vaze and her Global Bollywood band.

The word Balika means ‘girl child’ in Hindi. Alongside the performances, a segment of the event will honour young girls by featuring a few children from the local South Asian community talking about their future dreams. All proceeds from the family-friendly event will go in aid of Plan Canada’s Because I am a Girl Initiative.

Balika takes place on Aug. 18, 2013 at Lula Lounge, 1585 Dundas Street West, and doors open at 7:00 pm (Dinner reservations guarantee seating by calling 416.588.0307). Tickets are $10 and can be purchased online at www.mybindi.com. For more information, please visit www.mybindi.com and www.bageshree.com/pratibhaarts



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