Break­through: the is this jus­tice’ campaign

Exhibited by
June 10, 2014
Medium of Communication
Target Audience
Type of Charity
Healthcare, human rights & civil liberties, social change, women
Country of Origin
Date of first appearance
February, 2007

SOFII’s view

This is a brave campaign that fearlessly speaks out against social injustice in societies where such issues are rarely discussed, far less confronted. Breakthrough uses popular culture, media and education to change attitudes to sexual discrimination and injustice. Believing everyone has to be a human rights practitioner, it’s reaching into homes, workplaces, schools and places of worship with its powerful messages. Breakthrough has a big job to do. Two million Indian women are HIV positive, most of whom were thrown out of their family homes when their husbands died from AIDS. Many HIV-infected women are denied financial support and property rights. Prejudice is common because many regard these women as implicitly immoral.

Creator / originator

Breakthrough had some help in producing this hard-hitting yet sensitive campaign. Its creative development has been done pro bono by advertising agency Ogilvy and Mather under the direction of Piyush Pandey, national creative director of O&M.

Summary / objectives

In February 2007 Breakthrough launched a campaign called Is this justice? to address the stigma and discrimination that women living with HIV/AIDS face in the context of the family and their immediate community. This campaign challenges the way in which women in Indian society are treated, especially women living with HIV/AIDS. These women are either shunned by the family and community, or are forced to live on the edge of society after their husbands die of AIDS. The consequences of contracting HIV/AIDS are severe. Women face homelessness, increased violence, loss of jobs and families and lack of access to treatment and care.


Breakthrough was founded in October 1999 by Mallika Dutt, a former programme officer for human rights and social justice at the Ford Foundation. Breakthrough draws on education, media and popular culture to transform public attitudes and promote values of equality, justice and dignity. Our goal is to cultivate a more equitable and democratic civil society invested in sustaining human rights. Breakthrough’s first project was an attempt to place violence against women into the mainstream, with a focus on engaging youth and young adults. The organisation produced a music album, Mann ke Manjeere, an album of women’s dreams, which went on to become a top-ten album for six months. A music video from the title track won the National Screen Awards in 2002 and was nominated for the MTV Awards the same year. Breakthrough’s second music video, Babul, addressed the issue of domestic violence in middle-class communities.

Influence / impact

Impact results will follow when available.


The campaign is produced in four languages – Hindi, English, Kannada and Marathi. Breakthrough’s unique approach to human rights education marries traditional public education methods with new media and pop cultural forms of expression. This helps Breakthrough to involve new and younger audiences and extend human rights education and advocacy. We create innovative partnerships with the entertainment industry, educational institutions and diverse civil society groups to strengthen democratic values and mobilise support for human rights. Our work also creates an enabling environment for advocacy and public policy efforts to protect and promote the rights of vulnerable groups.

You can watch the campaign's video below.

My brother comes home late, but I'm punished.

He can't drive, but I'm the one being punished.

A man looks at me, but I'm the one being punished.