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Brihonnola: Break Borders & Build Humanity

Bangladesh’s transgender community, called ‘hijra’ has been ignored for decades. In the absence of care and acceptance, people of the hijra community has always been disregarded and demoted. An estimated 10,000 to half a million of Bangladesh’s population belong to the hijra community. Few organizations working for their welfare to ensure their identity, legal rights and better future are trying hard to change the perception of society that hijras are not burden and they do not deserve to be mistreated.

Bangladesh government like many other south Asian country has granted them legal status where hijra communities may identify their gender as ‘Hijra’ in national documents like passports and ID cards. However, yet it is not easy to establish a respected position as they are confined in a segregated community which is largely defined by exploitation or sex trade.

A bunch of Dhaka University students is playing a vital role to make a change in their life. To keep pace with the current world, this young group is trying to transform the traditional behavior towards hijras and to modernize their approach for a sociable lifestyle. They formed Brihonnola; a nonprofit student organization working for the welfare of the hijra community in 2017.

The objective of Brihonnola is to ensure a better life for the hijras by providing them appropriate education and support to get a decent job. Their “EDUCATION AND PROPER RIGHTS FOR THE Mx (EPRMx)” project determines to include all kind of hijra community in Bangladesh under one umbrella. Following that they have already declared one Hijra community of Dhaka University area as Model Community. They are building a center named ‘Brohonnola Learning Center’ for this community where hijras of that respected community will receive semi institutional education and vocational training, mental health counseling and ICT training. Additionally, after the completion of courses, they will be provided with initial business support to encourage to start their own business and create employment opportunity for others of their community.

After receiving Joy Bangla Youth Award in 2018 for their remarkable involvement in the society, Brihonnola has expanded their activity in an exceptionally different level. They have arranged their first inclusive excursion program in 2018 where 21 transgender people and 25 students of Dhaka University participated and traveled to Sylhet as a part of their program. After visiting many beautiful places of Sylhet with other tourists, Brihonnola arranged a press conference of that tour to express their feeling and share experience with others.

Their next plan in 2019 is to run a project titled ‘SELL WATER, RECEIVE HONOR’. Through this project, Brihonnola will provide water bottles to the hijra community for selling instead of begging in the street. Brihonnola believes this process will motivate them to work and leave the life of begging and prostitution.

Young Bangla recognizes Brihonnola’s outstanding contribution to society and humanity and appreciates their notable participation as a generation of change.