Child playing in Bukaleba Forest Reserve, Uganda (large)

Comic Book 'Priya's Shakti' Takes on Fight Against Gender-based Violence in India

“Priya’s Shakti” is a multimedia project to raise awareness of violence against women in India. Readers use "augmented reality" technology to watch a pop-up comic book animation and listen to audio using an app on their smartphones.

The story features Priya, a rape victim-turned-superhero and a character developed from the stories of many real-life victims. The determined Priya partners up with Hindu Goddess Parvati to stop the gender-based violence that affects hundreds of thousands of women in India. The virtual reality pop-up book uses the comic strip format to reach a wide audience in India and around the world. "Sexual violence is NOT just an Indian issue," says Ram Devineni, the director of "Priya’s Shakti."

In this Trust Docs video, Devineni speaks to the Thomson Reuters Foundation about the inspiration and motivation behind his work, which began after the infamous December 2012 Delhi bus gang rape incident. As the project developed, he says a lot of attention went into respecting the sensitivity of the subject matter and retaining the integrity of Hindu mythology. "This was a project designed by Indians, for Indians, about India," he said.

The project calls for action against sexual harassment and violence. "Although digital downloads are great and Facebook likes are wonderful, I don't equate them with actual social impact," Devineni said. The team developed workshops in Mumbai and Delhi for teenagers to create their own one-page comic using stories from their communities or personal experiences. The teenagers drew their comics and were paired up with mentors and sociologists to discuss the social justice issues at hand.

"There's something very profound about a teenager drawing a woman who has been raped or a woman who has had acid thrown on her face," he said. "It's a very active endeavor and very profound."

Upcoming Airdates

Taboo Health Issues

Many communities around the world see disease and mental illness not as something to be treated, but as something to be feared. As a result, many suffering from curable conditions are stigmatized within their communities. But through education and organizing, some people are challenging these stigmas and addressing previously taboo health issues.

Green at What Price?

In the name of environmental restoration, the Ugandan government is expanding the country’s forest reserves in order to sell into the global carbon credit market. But this program comes at a high human cost as the state is displacing long established villages, forcing people to relocate, and jailing those opposing the program.

One Man, One City, Three Evictions

Rio de Janeiro has experienced several waves of development in the past century. For Altair Guimaraes the changes have affected him directly. Brought up in a favela, he has been evicted three times as a result of Rio’s developments. As Brazil tries to gain global recognition and increase tourism, locals like Altair are forced to relocate despite property titles. Now, their struggles are becoming a symbol of a global phenomenon.

Women's Work

Women from all over the world are trailblazing through gender barriers in difficult and often dangerous environments. They are defying cultural norms and finding ways to pursue their dreams and change their future. The women featured in this episode are giving a new meaning to the term “women’s work.”

Colombia’s Ghosts of War

The 52-year Colombian civil war is not ending without leaving deep scars. As rebels hand over weapons, an entire generation of Colombians are emerging from the conflict to rebuild their nation. While some are struggling more than others, many citizens are rolling up their sleeves to clear out the ghosts of war.