Since my childhood I have observed different levels of discrimination towards indigenous girls and women which is also used to abase their potentials and self confidence. Indigenous girls are not only facing discrimination from the larger society not only for being a girl but also due to the identity for being “Indigenous”.Yes, we do not look like the Bengali majority community, we look like the mongolinas. We do have small eyes, flat noses. When we are going out of your house to get your higher education, to work we arevoften being targeted to tease, to humiliate. Yes we do get abashed through the behaviours from certain groups of people but not all of them are the same human beings. There are many people of the whole population of Bangladesh who can understand our struggles and always appreciate our efforts to stand with self pride and determination to be the changemakers.Due to the political and communal conflicts in Chittagong Hill Tracts in Bangladesh , this area is still underdeveloped and women are still considered as vulnerable and weak human beings. Women empowerment is now essential to stand against all types of injustice, violence happening to them. Education can be the most powerful weapon which will help them to speak up against violence, to empower themselves.
I want to share my own story today.This incident happened in 2009. Once I was humiliated in a bus by one of my acquainted college professor. I has shared my incident with my own college professors , my parents. Some of my professsors encouraged to take further steps such as written note to the college principal so that the perpetrator will be suspended. But one of my professor discouraged me to take the step and frightened me that I would be named as shameless because I am a girl and I should not talk about those thing. Whatever has happened to me I should not speak up or raise my voice. He emphasized that this can create a conflict between the indigenous minority community and Benagali Majority community because there exist a long history of conflict between these two groups in Chittagong Hill Tracts Bangladesh.Even I wanted to raise my voice , I was shut down to speak against the perpetrator because he belonged to a Bengali Majority group.I was just in 12 th grade and I could not get much courage to speak up against the violence which happened to me.
Now I will share my another story in 2015. Few months back I was passing few boys in road near to my University in Chittagong. I heard the guys are teasing me as “Chinese /Japanese” which are used to show disrespect or degradation toward indigenous minority groups. First I thought I would just pass and ignore their comments but I stopped and turned to the boys. They were shocked because they did not expect me to stop. I then talked t them maintaing my patience and stayed calm . I did explain how would they feel when they will go to abroad and feel the same thing as being moniroty. Suppose if they will go any other Asian countries such as Malaysia, Japan etc, they will feel the same thing.I think education gave me the courage to speak up against verbal harassment.
Asian University for Women (AUW) has taught me through many leadership classes about gender discrimination, different types violence against women and they ways to raise our voices. I consider myself lucky enough that I have got huge amount of support from my family, teachers to step forward to higher education . I am also grateful to some of my professors from AUW who have always encourgaed me to be a changemaker in my community and funding my project "Mentorship Project for the Indigenous Minority Students from Chittagong Hill Tracts" which aims to bring solidarity between Indigenous Minority Students and Bengali University Students and develope human resources in the underveloped indigenous coomunity. I want to bring a change in the society through the power of education. I am also leading a project on "Menstrual Hygiene" where I am educating adoloscent girls to know about their body function well and come out from the misconceptions of menstruation.My education is helping me to lead , to walk to move in this men dominating society and spark my inner lights.The Path to Participation Initiative from World Pulse and No Ceilings