Harassment against women is a daily reality in Bangladesh. Every day in homes, schools and public spaces women and girls face harassment. In rural areas, the propensity of harassing young women is awfully high. Many studies show that according to most of the men it is very common as men do not see women as equals in any respect. Gender-based violence and harassment are thus considered as usual incidents.
But any form of violence and harassment is NOT normal and tolerable!
With this belief, a schoolgirl named Maymuna Faria (current president of Shopnotori Foundation) of a small village of Brahman Baria in Chattogram division raised her voice against the perpetrators who regularly harass girls at the entrance of her school. She with her team has formed Shopnotori Foundation in 2016. Initially, Shopnotori shared their mission and vision with the local community and simultaneously discussed with students who witness and face harassment at public places.
One of Shopnotori’s members – Asma Jahan (Vice President, Shopnotori Foundation) was affiliated with Sheikh Russel Digital Lab and Internship program of Young Bangla. She expresses her knowledge about Young Bangla with Shopnotori that how young people are doing outstanding activities in different sectors of development. Youth power can change the perception of society and create new prosperity towards development.
Maymuna and Asma thus identify their social activities to support and empower girls of their community. They developed a self-defense program. Shopnotori Foundation teaches self-defense to girls with an aim to encourage and empower girls to become brave and self-confident. An interesting fact is Shopnotori has no permanent instructor for their self-defense learning program. Girls learn from internet and currently, 900 girls are regularly being monitored by Shopnotori who learn self-defense.
One step towards a positive change can create tremendous transformation in society. Shopnotori establishes an example of a positive transformation in their community. Through their remarkable initiatives, they are also addressing other women issues and successfully remonstrating those. They are battling against child marriage and dowry at present and arranging yard meetings in nearby villages.
In 2018, Shopnotori Foundation won Joy Bangla Youth Award for their remarkable contribution in the girls and women empowerment in their community.