GNN.org is the exclusive media partner for the 2018 ‘Global Good Fund’ Fellows—12 extraordinary young social entrepreneurs who are making the world a better place. Chosen annually, the 12 Fellows are each matched with an executive mentor, leadership coach, and $10,000. Hand-selected from 2,400 applicants in 100 countries, these visionaries are being celebrated—one each day on GNN—leading up to the 6th Annual Global Good Fund Gala, on April 26.

Kids express their differences in India’s ’Schools of Equality‘

Ponder this: Do you feel equal to the world around you? In what ways are you different—and in what ways are you the same?

Rights of individuals and groups are often violated based on one or more aspect of their identity — such as race, gender, sexuality, class and religion. Growing up in India, Gulika Reddy experienced this first-hand. The normalization of identity-based discrimination filled her with anger, specifically the social acceptance of widespread gender-based violence.

With a mission to prevent and respond to this issue, and a belief that knowledge of the law is a powerful instrument, she set out to ‘be the change’.

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As a human rights lawyer, Gulika knows good legislation alone does not guarantee justice. It needs to be supported by a number of fundamental enabling conditions including rights awareness and access to legal counsel.

To create these conditions, she spent time building partnerships between state and non-state actors to create rights awareness, and provide free legal services for indigent women. Despite receiving free legal assistance, women expressed reluctance to approach the legal system as they felt further victimized by law enforcement authorities.

Gulika conducted sensitization programs for these authorities and observed that they were unable to shift deeply entrenched attitudes towards women and gender roles.

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Enter, Schools of Equality, a nonprofit that runs activity-based programs that reach young people to shift attitudes that perpetuate gender-based violence and other forms of discrimination. As Founder and Director, Gulika created this program to encourage students to reflect and examine their own attitudes and unconscious biases, question notions of power and privilege related to gender and its intersections, and foster diversity and inclusion by respecting each other’s rights.

The Global Good Fund selected Gulika as part of the innovative and inspiring 2018 cohort of Fellows to drive and multiply Schools of Equality’s impact, equipping students to be agents of change.

“I spoke my mind in these classes. I asked questions without fear.” -Thiruvanmiyur, student from Chennai Higher Secondary School.

Gulika is currently a Dubin Fellow at Harvard Kennedy School, and was previously a Human Rights Fellow at Columbia Law School and an International Bridges to Justice Fellow. In 2016, Columbia Law School’s Human Rights Institute awarded her a Commendation for Leadership and Commitment, and the World Economic Forum named her one of the Davos 50. She was also recognized with the TalentNomics Global Emerging Game-Changer award for exemplary dedication to the empowerment of women and girls.

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A force to be reckoned with, Gulika has worked with lawyers, non-profits and academic institutions on the rights of women and children, climate refugees in the South Asian region, persons with disabilities, persons living with HIV/AIDS and slum-dwellers.

To date, Schools of Equality is found in 11 institutions, with 21 facilitators, having hosted 2,677 sessions, influencing and empowering 2,755 students.

A world full of children practicing freedom of expression and recognizing their ability to take action. That’s the kind of world we want to create for our kids, our grandkids and all generations to come thereafter.

Through its Fellowship program launched in 2012, The Global Good Fund invests in high potential leaders committed to social impact worldwide. It also created the 360 MIRROR – the first evidence-based leadership assessment for social entrepreneurs and CEOs.

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