On International Women’s Day, HP is inviting girls to reinvent their stories and reach for their dreams. ‘Paro,’ a short film shot in Kolkata, India, follows a girl’s journey as she discovers her passion for storytelling.
In addition to the film, HP is introducing a range of social impact programs, rooted in the company’s belief that technology can be a democratizing force in telling and sharing stories that matter.
In ‘Paro’ a young girl experiences the triumph of sharing her story with others through an untraditional and unexpected path. We see her drawing and writing in a notebook at home and at school. We see her teacher take away her book because it distracts her from her schoolwork, and the girl is ashamed to tell her parents. But as the teacher reviews her book and finds a wonderful story. She copies the story and hands it out at an assembly, justifying Paro’s dream of writing and storytelling.
Produced by HP Studios, the film was created to inspire schoolchildren to celebrate their differences and show how technology can reinvent and make life better.
“Paro was created to spark discussion about dreaming big and chasing your passions, no matter your background or where you are in the world,” said Antonio Lucio, chief marketing and communications officer, HP Inc. “We believe powerful stories – told vividly and authentically – can change minds and spark action. International Women’s Day is a perfect reminder to always inspire action and stories are a perfect vehicle to touch hearts.”
Lucio said that the idea was brought to the company by an independent writer from India who presented the story. Through writing, Paro finds her voice, and her dream was realized with the help of HP technology.
“It’s a beautiful message to release [this week] amplifying voices through our technology,” he said. “At the end of the day, it’s reinventing story making and amplifying storytellers…it’s the first time we’ve done something like this. It is a universal story.”
A story-driven challenge
While the branding in the film is subtle, the message of having voices being heard is extended through an effort to get more girls to write down their own stories and perhaps become the next Paro.
HP is partnering with Girl Rising, a global campaign for girls' education and empowerment, on a seven-month story-driven challenge designed to elevate voices of people around the world advocating for equality. The challenge will run from April through June 2018, with winners announced on International Day of the Girl Child on October 11. Those winners will receive micro-grants, HP products and services and access to mentors to help them on their journey.
“Girl Rising is helping us pull together judges and influencers,” said Karen Kahn, chief communications officer at HP. Kahn said that with the help of the India-based organization, they are able to reach out to girls in underrepresented communities who may not have access to a computer to submit their writings. “Especially when it comes to underprivileged areas, not everybody can submit through a laptop. We’ll accept submission in any medium – voice mail, email, fax, carrier pigeon…it’s truly democratized…we may find a bunch of new Paros.”
The essence of the challenge is to share a personal story using technology – whether that is a pen and paper, a photograph, a video or audio recording. “Everything starts with a story and these community-driven projects serve as a catalyst for impact and long-term social change,” said Christina Lowery, chief executive officer of Girl Rising. “Our partnership with HP will help us elevate more voices and advance equality throughout the world. We look forward to uncovering powerful stories and meeting the inspiration behind them.”
Story submissions will begin on April 2 on the Girl Rising website with details on the process and submission requirements.
“It will be interesting to see what stories are submitted,” said Lucio. “We hope it will become a cycle, produced and amplified by HP brand. Diversity and inclusion for us is not just our values, it is a business imperative.” HP also backs the Free the Bid movement and has its own diversity and acceptance campaign in 'Reinvent Mindsets.'
Nurturing the next generation of advocates
Producing and distributing ‘Paro’ is just one way HP is committed to driving meaningful conversations and social change. The company also launching ‘Stories of Advocacy,’ a partnership with the Women Deliver Young Leaders program leading up to the 2019 Women Deliver conference. HP will provide support and technology to drive the young leaders’ advocacy platforms forward.
“While we work for progress today, it’s crucial to look ahead to the leaders of tomorrow,” said Lori Adelman, director of youth engagement, Women Deliver. “HP will equip our young leaders with the tools and resources necessary to launch their platforms and spread change beyond their communities.”
HP also co-sponsored the ‘Warriors Who Code Challenge’ with Disney, an all-day coding platform with Black Girls Code to celebrate the premiere of the film A Wrinkle in Time. HP convened leading female voices in tech and filmmaking to inspire future engineers, scientists, technologists and artists. HP is also teaming with NFL retiree Wade Davis, Gabrielle Union, the Ms. Foundation and Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls for special screenings of the film during International Women’s Week in New York City.