Its been almost a month since we have met here. Probably you have got the news that I have become the father of a cute baby boy on Valentine Day (14th Feb 2011).
So, when I decided to create this post, one thing was clear that it has to be something which is closely very closely related to the children - off course comics is one such nice thing, but this time I wanted to have it entirely based on children lives - and that's where the sweet little icon Meena came to my mind.
Who is Meena?
Meena is a fictional character who stars in the South Asian children's television show Meena. The lead character, Meena educates the children of South Asia on issues of gender, health, and social inequality through her stories in comic books, animated films, and radio series. The secondary characters of her stories include her brother Raju, and her pet parrot Mitthu. Her audience goes on her adventures as she attempts to get an education, have an equal share of food as Raju, and learns about the HIV virus. All of her stories advocate change in social and cultural practices.
When she is not allowed to attend school, her parrot Mithu memorizes the lessons for her and teaches them to her after class. When this helps her discover that someone is cheating her family out of their chickens, Meena's father sees how her education can benefit the family and he allows her to go to school. Another story follows Meena as she tries to have an equal amount of food as her Raju, who gets more simply because he is a boy. Other tales tell of dealing with disease, maintaining proper hygiene, and the benefits of learning to read.
The Meena figure has achieved remarkable popularity as she tackles the key issues affecting children, and the threats to the rights of millions of girls in South Asia. Her popularity is due to her not being closely bound to just one country or culture of South Asia, but uniting the common characteristics of them all. Her creation is partly due to the UNICEF, an organization that supports the growing educational awareness of South Asia through Meena and her stories.
The Meena Comics Books -
Unicef has published 33 Comic Books featuring Meena - each dealing with a social issue. The comics are printed in English, Bangla, Hindi, Nepali and Urdu.
The Meena Comics Books Cover Gallery -