My Journey " I have dreams in my eyes to change the society"

Ukhengching Marma
Posted September 18, 2015 from Bangladesh

In the first appearance people ask me " You look like Mongolian", are you Bangladeshi?My answer is yes, I am a Bangladeshi girl but my ethnicity is Indigenous , I am proud of my identity. Being fromone of the underprivileged indigenous minority groups from Chittagong Hill Tracts, Bangladesh since my childhood i always have been subjected to be humilated due to my facial structure and race in my own country.So, determination has always been in my mind to be different , to be potential not only in my own indigenous community but also in the outer lager community. From my childhood , i have tried my best to do well in education so that my fellow studetns and teachers will always appreciate me. Literacy rate of indigenous people are only 10% in the whole population. Most of the indigenous boys and girls can not continue the schools and colleges due to the poor socio economic condition. I also belong to a middle class family and i had to go through many hardships during my school and college lives due to financial problems.But my parents have always inspired me to get higher education to be empowered and motivated to contribute in my community. I am the first girl from my family who has been able attend the University. Since my childhood i always have been such student to get a scholarship (Merit scholarship in Class 5, Junior High School General Scholarship in Class 8, GPA5 in Class 10) which had helped me to complete my high school and college level. After my college I got enrolled Bangabandhu Seikh Muzibur Rahman Agricultural University, Gazipur Dhaka. But i had left the agricultural University when I had successfully obtained 95% scholarship from IKEA to attend an International Institution Asian University for Women (AUW), Chittagong.I am now pursuing my 3rd year in Public Health Studies at (AUW).I beleive education should be the first priority for every girl to bring a positive impact on family and society. Being the first child of family , my parents have never discriminated me as being a girl, their support was always with me till now.They want me to be a changemaker for our own indigenous people because they are considered as the fragile groups in Bangladesh.

As being a young member of my indigenous community , I always have wanted to contribute my knowledge to help my own people ,specially the children .I have started to contribute in my community from now along with my academic studies. As I am majoring in Public Health Studies, I am most passionate about Reproductive health sector in Bangladesh now at the moment. I am working in a project called " Indigenous Adolescent Girls Health Awareness Program" from Asian University for Women to bring awareness among the adolescent Indigenous girls in Chittagong Hill Tracts, Bangladesh . The project focuses on making them to understand the sexual health, menstruation,hygiene.There is another project i am leading and coordinating from "World Merit Bangladesh" called "Campaign for Menstrual Hygiene" at one Helpless Children and Widow Welfare Center where the participants are being educated specifically about puberty so that a positive attitude will come toward menstruation hygiene. They will be able to express their difficulties to health workers and collaborating school teachers during the menstruation period without any hesitation.We are distributing sanitary Napkins among the girls to break the silence against this. To help the Women in one Municipality of South Africa called Mkhndo , I have done a petition signing event at Asian University for Women from Amnesty International demanding the South African government better health care of pregnant women from Mkhndo Municipality. As women are still facing discrimination in spite of certain development in the society, i consider reproductive right is also an important thing to think about .My activities also cover education sector because I believe that in this world education is the first priority for the children as we count them as our future leaders who might even be president one day if they are carefully raised. But in Bangladesh it turns out to be different story as our Indigenous children are growing up in poverty and lack of information and opportunities. So considering the case we 10 students from Asian University for Women have initiated a project called “Mentorship Project for the underprivileged Indigenous students from Chittagong Hill Tracts” where I am working as a coordinator and mentor to encourage the students toward education and preventing to dropout from schools and college.

I beleive that we can bring a change this world through voluntary engagements and now i have been involved with several organizations from around the world not only in Bangladesh. I have also volunteered for United Nation My World Survey from World Youth Foundation. MY World is a global survey for citizens led by the United Nations and partners. It aimed to capture people's voices, priorities and views, so that global leaders can be informed as they begin the process of defining the new development agenda for the world when the Millennium Development Goals expire in 2015.As being a campus ambassador of one of the the prominent organization in Chittagong called “Youth’s Voice” I have volunteered in “World Labour Day” to bring smile on the faces of richshawpulars, drivers in the busy streets of Chittagong . We are now initiating our next project called “Fight for Winter” where we provide winter clothes to needed and poor people.Now I am working as an Assistant Marketing Manager at World Merit (United Kingdom), Campus Ambassador of an International Technology based Company “ PREZI” (Budapest), Vise president at “ World Merit Bangladesh” to bring positive impact of the youths from my University, my own country Bangladesh and from around the globe.My passion relies on helping out youths and girls from every conrner of the world so that their voices should be heard.

I consider i need to learn more skills to be an imapactful leader in my community in future which i intend to learn from the World Pulse sisters. Because the best way of learning is oberving other activities and relating those things to bring a solution. For this reason I am here to learn from all you and to get connected for hearing your stories.

Comments 17

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Mkandeh
Sep 18, 2015
Sep 18, 2015

Hi Ukheng,

Thanks for this wonderful post. You are a true change maker. Your journey has been amazing and I believe you are an inspiration to many young women in the world.

Keep doing what you do.

Cheers

Ukhengching Marma
Sep 20, 2015
Sep 20, 2015

Hello Kanedh,

Thank you for your inspirition and you are also a inspirer , pray for me so that i will be able to reach to my goals.

Thanks

Ukheng

coolasas
Sep 19, 2015
Sep 19, 2015

You're amazing Ukheng ... you do a lot and you make things happen not only for you but for the youth of your community.

Keep it up and I know you're on the right track being part of the World Pulse community :) and don't worry you're not the only one whose always mistaken for who they are, it may not be of the same circumstances but the good thing there is that you're not forgetting who you are, where you're from and where your heart is --- with your people.

Good luck to you and keep in touch!

Coolasas

Ukhengching Marma
Sep 20, 2015
Sep 20, 2015

Hello Sister, I never give up hope and i have strong faith in myself that my efforts will work out someday. My heart always cries for people who need the most support . I always try to learn from others , from their stories and I am glad to be part of World Pulse. Thanks Ukheng

Olanike
Sep 19, 2015
Sep 19, 2015

Wow, Ukheng! A million hugs to you for your resilience and witty determination.

Your story is so inspiring and you are a shining example of what it means to have a vision for change. I join you, your family, friends, cohorts, local comunities, World Pulse and the rest of the world to celebrate your many achievements! I am happy that your efforts have continuously gained recognition. Well done!

I hope you gain all the skills and connections that will put you at the forefront and help you drive and lead the change that you are so passionate about. Please keep us posted as you press on.

Much love, Olanike

Tan Ching
Sep 20, 2015
Sep 20, 2015

Thank you for sharing your story and how it can inspire other girls to fight on to achieve their dreams despite whichever environment they are in and that they shouldn't be giving up. Let us women and girls show our strength to the world.

Myriam Vololonarivo
Sep 22, 2015
Sep 22, 2015

It is confirmed, you are a mover, changemaker and dreamer. Thank you for sharing your story plenty of success and challenges. You are beautiful, the rest are not important. May people comments on you about your complexion, you are gorgeous, smart and can make positive change in every actions you undertake.

Myriam

Anita Kiddu Muhanguzi
Sep 22, 2015
Sep 22, 2015

Hi Ukheng You are surely a changemaker and am glad you are part of this great platform. We have a lot to learn from you when it comes to effecting and implementing change. You have done well and am sure your indigenous community is very proud of the work that you have done the more work you intend to do. God bless you in your endeavours.

Olubee
Sep 23, 2015
Sep 23, 2015

Thank you for sharing your story,its really amazing how a young woman like you is ready to change the world against all odds.Your story is very inspiring and shows the power of determination and purpose.

You will achieve all your dreams and aspiration for you and your community by the grace of God.

keep doing the good work.

love

Bukola

emergentcorp
Sep 23, 2015
Sep 23, 2015

Hello Ukheng:

Thank you for sharing your journey with us.  It is an amazing one that is on a long path for more amazing things.  I look forward to opportunities to share with you in the field of public health with a focus on reproductive health not only for girls in your part of the world but all over.

I congratulate you for the work you have done so far and know you will continue to do amazing things in this field.

All the best in your training and your working.

Abigail

Omoy k Williams
Sep 25, 2015
Sep 25, 2015

I am so inspired by your story. To see your courage and determination is really an inspiration, please keep up the wonderfull work.

annadassa
Sep 26, 2015
Sep 26, 2015

Ukheng,

I'm just amazed of your story. While reading I'm experiencing your inner strenght and great courage. Keep up the good work.! Hope to hear more of you........

Annadassa

annadassa
Sep 26, 2015
Sep 26, 2015

Ukheng,

I'm just amazed of your story. While reading I'm experiencing your inner strenght and great courage. Keep up the good work.! Hope to hear more of you........

Annadassa

Urmila Chanam
Sep 26, 2015
Sep 26, 2015

Dear Ukheng,

You are already a leader in your own community, worldwide youth and among us women in World Pulse! Your story has made me remember how this kind of differentiation based on ethnicity thrives in my own country India and how it complicates employability, living in peace and friendship, access to opportunities and even survival.I could relate to your sense of distance and dejection in your own country by virtue of being a different ethnic group- I am one too and till today, everyday is a struggle. Sometimes the load is overbearing.I agree that education is the best solution to end this dip in equality and it will strengthen individuals, their families and eventually their communities. I wish you all the best in your endeavours.

What I found was common among us is that we are working on reproductive health and menstrual hygiene in our respective countries. I hope to share and learn a lot from you regarding this. Please e-mail me at urmila.chanam@gmail.com. I hope we can support each other in this area and bring respite to adolescent girls and women.I found the habit of placing oneself at the last a value that works against women in India and this same habit is one of the reasons of poor menstrual health and overall health of women. What is your opinion on why women place themselves the last when it comes to nutrition or health services?

With love and prayers,

Urmila Chanam,

Founder

Breaking the Silence: From Shame to Pride

India

Julia O
Sep 29, 2015
Sep 29, 2015

Hi Ukheng, Wow your post was awesome - I learned a lot and felt totally inspired :) I did not know about the indigenous people of Bangladesh so I right away learned that from your post. It's so cool that you are the first woman from your family to attend university. Congratulations on that wonderful achievement! I read with awe all the work you are doing to help promote awareness and provide aid on topics surrounding women's hygiene. I've read a lot about the issues with come with menstruation in different parts of the world (lack of sanitary napkins or tampons, inability to go to school or out of the house when a girl/woman has her period, etc.) so it's great to read first hand from someone working on programs to resolve those issues for girls and women. I look forward to reading more. Thank you for sharing. All my best wishes, Julia

TraceyJBell
Oct 01, 2015
Oct 01, 2015

 Hello Ukheng,

Thank you for sharing your story, it is very inspiring. I have no doubt you are on the track to becoming a leader in your community and beyond. You are tackling so many important and challenging issues. I wonder if you are had seen this invention desinged to combat the cost, access, and health issues associated with menstration: http://www.konbini.com/en/lifestyle/flo-device-periods/

Tracey

RoseMarie_FitzSimons
Oct 07, 2015
Oct 07, 2015

Hello Ukheng,  Thank you for sharing your inspiring story, you are a bright and courageous woman, already a leader in your community, and your passion to make a difference is wonderful. It seems like you have overcome many obstacles to get your education, to achieve results that you have and also to have undertaken so many initiatives.  I imagine there are expectations of you, as an educated voice for your indigenous and fragile community.  I hope through World Pulse you will find support to continue your important work in healthcare, rights etc. 

I wholeheartedly agree with you on the importance of equality of education, it is fantastic to know that you are sharing your knowledge and expertize to help women in your community and beyond.  Keep doing your work, based on your actions I see you are a brave and kind woman. Best regards, RoseMarie