The room was very little; around 50 children from grad one to eight gathered in it. Majority of them were girls and only 10/12 were boys. When we were pairing them up into two, a girl with a boy they were so shy and looking at each other’s. Their faces were clearly telling that they are not use to with this situation. A boy is very unusual to be a girl’s friend or pair. Our plan was different so we kind of forced them to pair up themselves with different gender and introduced each other to us. It was our first day of class so they listened to us and did whatever we said though the responses did not satisfy us. The village is in Chittagong far from the town likewise other villages in Bangladesh. Most of the houses were made by mud. Green fields covered most of the area in that village. People are simple in that village but globalization gives them opportunity to have electricity, satellite. One of my friend’s uncles builds an NGO there to improve their lifestyle. He has one project called children development, where I get involved.
I talked to the lady who teaches the children. She told me that boys do not come because there are lots of girls. She teaches singing, dancing, drama, and drawing because these will teach them about their culture and they need money to learn those. I asked about her life. She could not pass her secondary school certificate exam and her father is not giving her money to give the exam again. She joined this NGO but her father dislikes doing job outside. The founder said that the children go to school but the education system is like memorizing everything, they do not know about critical thinking, their lessons do not bright up their mind. He wants to teach them to be confident and be a positive person. However, when we analyze the condition we found that gender discrimination is one of the main parts what they need to be aware at first. We started our mission, so that was the first work we did. My friend explained the situation more clearly to me, she took me to her previous high school she shared her experiences with me.
In that village usually girls get married at the age of 19 or 20. Their education is not that much necessary more than prepared them to be a perfect house wife. A girl should walk with the head down, avoid boys to talk. As girls are not aware about their right they do not recognize that they are discriminated. Their dreams are limited. We three young ladies start our plan, we have got a dream their loving faces and eagerness of learning grabs us to be there when we get time. We want to share our knowledge with them especially the girls because we believe our country will flourish if we can get a educated mother in each family.
Take action! This post was submitted in response to 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence 2009.