Apna Haq (Our Right) was the first collaborative campaign run by the girls in the level 2 of FAT's Young Women's Leadership Program and ran from 2013 to early 2014. 20 girls who had completed one year at the Tech Center at FAT in 2013 chose to campaign within their community to improve the toilets and fight for sanitation rights for young women. FAT partnered with Voices of Women Media, a feminist media training group, to provide the girls training on film making, photography and radio and also trained the girls to understand the deeper issues of girls' rights connected to the issue of lack of toilets in their community. After receiving the training, the girls made a film that talked about not just the lack of toilets in number and lack of cleanliness in toilets, but also about harrassment that girls face when using the toilets, health issues they face due to lack of toilets and how this eventually leads to girls dropping out of school, falling sick and getting left out. They used the film to campaign within their community to raise awareness on these issues within their family as well as their community.
As a part of the campaign, the girls organized 10 screenings in the communities where they came from. They screened the film either someones house or an open community place and went door to door to invite the members of the community to see the film. After each screening, they facilitated a discussion with the auidiance on the issues that had highlighted, hoping that the community members will come together to take some action to make toilets more accessible for the girls in the community. While it seemed like the project did not have an immediate impact in the duration of the campaign, in a few months we saw a change in the attitude of the community members. The campaigning girls had a new-found respect in the community and were no longer harassed by boys, the parents felt pride in what the girls were doing. Even the local authorities seemed to have been paying attention as the toilet repairs began, there were CCTV cameras and street lights installed around the area, and the fee to use the public toilets was removed for girls and women.
During the Apna Haq project, Deepika actively took the role of organizing the classes, screenings etc. She started using email and facebook to contact different filmmakers and talking to them and started posting her own photos online. She applied for and got a scholarship for a professional filmmaking course with filmmaker Kavita Joshi.
A second film was made after these initial community film screenings. This film, called ‘Apna Haq Charcha’, was a documentation of how the girls used the Apna Haq film to raise awareness on the issue of lack of toilets and girls rights within their own community and how the community responded to the film.
This project went on to win the European Youth Award for its unique and innovative approach.