Insia Dariwala

Lights, Camera, Action!

Insia Dariwala, a survivor of childhood sexual abuse. She creates awareness to help similar victims through her films and her organisation, which address difficult issues of women and children.

Insia Dariwala was ten when she was sexually abused which forced her to shut out the world around her. But believed that ‘When life gives you lemons, make lemonade’, She used it as an opportunity to create an imaginary world of her own, weaving stories, creating powerful characters, and eventually becoming a visual story teller.

Insia used her art of story-telling to highlight issues, which no one wanted to talk about. Her award winning debut film ‘The Candy Man’, followed by another hard-hitting film ‘Cock-Tale’, delved into topics like child sexual abuse, and sexual violence on women. Insia says, “My films acted as a catharsis for my own trauma, and allowed me to do what I could not do as a child- celebrate 'Shakti' power in a woman, and make evil pay.”

Not surprisingly, both her films, created ripples at home, and abroad, going on to becoming a game changer for her role as a Social Change maker. Since her first film, she continued creating visual content to address difficult issues of women and children.

Three years ago, Insia started ‘The Hands of Hope Foundation’, which diligently focuses on sexual violence on women & children. Through her NGO's flagship programme, "Recognise Prevent Protect", Insia has custom-designed visual software to inform children and adults about sexual violence against women and children. She also conducts talks/workshops in schools/colleges/slums to sensitise people on sexual abuse and has managed to reach more than 6000 children in a short span.

Last year, her organisation put up an art installation at the prestigious Kala Ghoda Art Festival in Mumbai on the theme of child sexual abuse. The installation, called Betrayed, was visited by more than 50,000 people. It raised awareness and facilitated what would have otherwise been a difficult dialogue.

On July 6th, 2017, Insia launched the first ever photo campaign on Male Child Sexual Abuse in India. The campaign called ‘End the Isolation’, is coupled along with a petition on, demanding an in-depth study on Male CSA, to probe correlations between unresolved male trauma and the increasing sexual violence in the country. In a short span of two weeks, her petition has gathered close to 50,000 signatures, with many men coming out with their own abuse and its impact.

Insia is the recipient of several awards for her work as a filmmaker and child activist, along with her NGO, she has also co-founded another organisation "Sahiyo" which works on ending the harmful practice of female genital mutilation India.

• Best Featured Story Teller Award –World Pulse, 2017
• Vocal Contributor on Social causes Award- World Pulse 2017
• Nominated for Amelia Earhart Courage Award-2017
• All India Women’s Association Award 2016 for work on Gender Based Violence
• Naari Samata Manch, ‘Daughter of Maharashtra’ award [2016], for work on FGM
• Humanity Award [2014 ] for work on Child Sexual Abuse
• Golden Camera Award for Best Film, Cock-Tale- Nasik International FF 2014
• Best Director Award for The Candy Man- Aarohi Film festival 2009
• Best Director Award for The Candy Man- Sirmour Festival 2010
• MIP Doc award, Cannes for 17 Not Required Indians
• IDPA Award, Amsterdam for 17 Not required Indians
• MIFF Special Mention 2014 for 17 Not Required Indians.
• ITA best thriller award for the 9X television show ‘Ajeeb’
• Official Selection, The Candy Man 2010- New York Short Film festival
• Official Selection, The Candy Man 2009-Barcelona International Film Festival

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