It has been almost a year since the death of the valiant Nusrat Jahan Rafi. Her demise put a lingering question on everyone’s mind about the actual position of women in our country.
Project Nirbhik, founded by Mahir Muqid, started their journey in 2020. The co-founders of this organisation are Mohammad Abdul Mahir and Tanzum Abid Khan. They have extensive plans to alleviate the condition of oppressed women in our country by conducting numerous activities to spread the idea of gender equality.
According to Bangladesh Mahila Parishad (BMP), about 416 women were raped in the last 6 months. At least 3 children were raped every day last year, according to the Bangladeshi Shishu Adhikar Foundation (BSAF). To enlighten more people about these issues, Project Nirbhik started their journey to promote the importance of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 5, among many others — which basically speaks about gender equality.
Initially, their plan was to carry out sessions from schools to schools to teach students and engage them into interactive sessions. However, due to the entire country being under lockdown, they have decided to carry out webinars on virtual platforms and online sessions by including experts. Since younger girls tend to face more harassment issues, like non consensual sexual intercourse, leakage of private photos, etc — Project Nirbhik intends to address this issue as well, because more often than not, people don’t realise how they are being violated and that it is a punishable offense by law. Although Project Nirbhik is currently focusing on SDG goal 5, they plan on moving forward with other SDG goals in the future.
Since the rate of domestic abuse and harassment has increased significantly during the Covid-19 pandemic, Project Nirbhik aims to address this issue, by conducting informative live sessions, so that it helps the vulnerable people. They will be including hotline numbers or services where the victims will be able to call and ask for help.
Project Nirbhik took a very brave yet challenging initiation to help the vulnerable people. Due to the lockdown their steps aren’t being as effective as it should have been because they cannot carry out any sessions physically. Investment is a challenging issue too, as they have to be careful about where and how much they spend . Furthermore, carrying out educational sessions in schools on socially tabooed and stigmatised issues, like sexual harassment and rape will be a challenge too, as a lot of people might not accept it positively; schools might not even permit to carry out such sessions.
They also plan on reaching out to the parents of the young children as they are the primary teachers of the children. Finding someone willing to share their traumatic experiences is going to be challenging because of the prevalent societal stigmas.
It is said that the sweetest victory comes after the hardest battle. Project Nirbhik is a newly founded organisation formed by a group of university students. They still have a long way to go, but with the plans and motives they are moving forward, a lot of the oppressed women in our country will finally be able to stand up and speak for themselves.
The August issue of TDA, Youth in Philanthropy, intends to honour those youth-led organisations which are working selflessly to bring about a change in the society.
Approached by Anindita Bose.