In mid-January I saw one of Breakthrough’s signature Video Van programs in Varanasi. The Video Van is a mobile theater, featuring multimedia messages from Breakthrough’s highly successful Bell Bajao campaign. Bell Bajao promotes men and boys taking an active role in stopping domestic violence.
A professional emcee hosts the entire Video Van production. The van is transformed into a stage complete with a multimedia system. At the three video van stops I witnessed, there were between 400-600 people in attendance at each stop, which is quite impressive. It is a high impact program. Every year tens of thousands of people see the Video Van performance and through it, hear Breakthrough’s messages of stopping violence.
My role was to document the Video Van on film. This provided the chance to take a critical eye to the entire performance, focus on the audience’s reaction to BT’s messaging and conduct interviews with NGO partners, performers and the community.
The results were incredibly positive. Zooming in on the crowd, I was able to see the delight children took from the performance. The Video Van emcee took volunteers from the audience to participate in various games. This was extremely popular with the young crowd. We were able to capture this on camera.
The interviews were great. We reached out to a broad cross section for them, including students, activists, community members and staff. One young man from the audience was able to dexterously site the Protection of Women From Domestic Violence Act (PWDV), a 2005 court ruling which criminalizes violence against women in India. Other interview subjects spoke to the success of Breakthrough’s efforts to engage young men and boys in what is otherwise an issue most primarily taken up by women.
I look forward to seeing further successes by Breakthrough as their Video Van travels to Delhi.