411 TV Aims To Empower 7000 Female Students

By Karen Bliss 3/2/11 | www.samaritanmag.com

 A youth initiative to empower girls is expanding its scope with an in-school live “television” presentation entitled 411 TV. The 411 Initiative For Change organization, sometimes simply called 411, will be touring the program in 20 Ontario schools from March 21 to April 1 and is expect to reach 7000 female students.

Since launching in 1999, 411 has made presentations in more than 400 schools across Canada, raising issues of girls rights, human rights and HIV/AIDS.

“This new program comes as a result of requests from students and teachers for 411 to focus on domestic issues affecting girls, such as body image, self-esteem, racism, careers, healthy relationships and bullying (cyber bullying),” the press release states.

411 TV is a mock live-to-air TV talk show, mixing video, theatre and music with live interviews to relay positive images of girls and to offer real-life testimonies from Canadian girls and women.

Musician Masia One and actress Anita Majumdar are both taking part and the program will be hosted by reporter Ivy Prosper.

“I use my life experiences to engage girls in an open discussion,” explains Masia One, who has also created music for the program. “For example, my experiences being bullied and as a result becoming a bully during my teenage years. I also give girls a behind the scenes look at the music industry and provide some balance to the glitz and glam they see in the media.”

Majumdar will perform a dance-infused piece focusing on integration and self-esteem that is an abridged version of her one-woman play “Fish Eyes,” which explores the life of a Indian Canadian teen balancing her home and school life.

Included in 411 TV, as part of a focus on women and career, is a video with Canada’s first-ever female commercial airline pilot, Judy Cameron, who was hired back in 1978 by Air Canada.

“We were shocked to find out that only 4 percent of airline pilots in Canada are woman,” 411 executive director Tamara Dawit said in a statement.  “As part of our focus on careers our interview with Judy Cameron enabled us to show that piloting is certainly a job girls can do too.”

The 2011 program also features content from MuchMusic, Breakout TV, Historica-Dominion Institute, Concerned Children’s Advertisers, Air Canada and The Foundation For A Better Life, as well as follow up support for students and teachers through Kids Help Phone.

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