Two out of three Bangladeshi women are forced to deal with some form of violence during their lifetime. This can be domestic violence, rape, acid attacks, trafficking or sexual harassment, these being the most prominent forms. If you are a woman, chances are you, or someone you know have already faced harassment or some other form of violence.
Even though Bangladesh has made considerable progress in development over the past four decades, there are still many issues left to grapple - one major concern being safety and security. In an attempt to address some of the problems, Saferworld initiated its community security project in partnership with BRAC in 2012.
Polli shomaj, or community-based organisations, are designed to empower poor, rural women, by enabling them to raise their voice, and claim their rights and entitlements. These groups are powerful and successful mediums of sustainable development. They actively engage more than one million rural women in 55 districts of Bangladesh.
The fashion and garments industry of Bangladesh, employing the largest labour force, has become a national pride. A huge fraction of the labour force is women, which has brought about a revolutionary change in the concept of women’s empowerment and economic independence. But a few of the recent garments and fashion house fire incidents have changed this whole notion of national pride into death traps.
It was the year 2010. I had been working with the BRAC community empowerment programme for only six months back then, when I embarked upon a trip up at North Bengal, exploring BRAC’s community based grassroots forums of poor women, called Polli Shomaj.
The government run pre-primary schools at Shalighor Village have limited capacity for talented students. Also there is no BRAC school in the locality. It is very difficult for poor families to enroll their children to school here.