Nine years old girl

who braves the world

Meena was conceived in the early 1990s with the help and guidance of Hanna-Barbera Cartoons. The project came out of a need to confront the extreme discrimination against girls in the South Asia region of the world. The goal of the Meena initiative was to create a girl character that would represent little girls in Bangladesh, India, Pakistan and Nepal, dealing with serious issues in the region such as education, early marriage, unequal food and work load, while entertaining at the same time.

UNICEF spent more than a year researching the storylines to be used in the Meena series. Most important to them was to create a cartoon that dealt with the issues relevant to the people in South Asia, and to make sure the solutions offered by the film were acceptable as well. UNICEF and researchers tested all concepts, storylines, and animatics with focus groups before any film was finalized.

Through the animated characters, children recognize their own experiences and find their own voices. As a little girl in a Dhaka slum exclaimed, "I want to be like Meena. I want to go to school too." Through Meena's story, this little girl had been able to articulate her own aspirations and identify her rights. Likewise, parents become engaged with the issues and characters and review their own attitudes towards their daughters.
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