Harassment against women is a reality that Bangladesh couldn’t yet consign to oblivion.
Every day women and girls face harassment in homes, schools and public spaces. In rural areas, young women are quite vulnerable to harassment.
Studies show that most men don’t see women as equal in any respect. Gender-based violence and harassment are thus taken for granted.
But any form of violence and harassment is NOT normal and tolerable!
With this conviction, a schoolgirl named Maymuna Faria (current president of Shopnotori Foundation) of a small village of Chittagong raised her voice against the perpetrators who regularly harass girls at the entrance to her school.
She with her team 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.
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. Interestingly, Shopnotori has no permanent instructor for their self-defense learning program. Girls learn from internet and currently, 900 girls who learn self-defense are being regularly monitored by Shopnotori. Through their remarkable initiatives, they are also addressing other women’s issues and successfully demonstrating those. They are battling against child marriage and dowry at present and arranging yard meetings in nearby villages.
Their relentless work for empowering women earned the foundation Joy Bangla Youth Award in 2018.