The British Council jointly hosted a workshop with Tarango, a non-government organisation on 29 November titled “International Women Rights Defenders Day” as part of 16 Days of Activism for Violence against Women and Children at Tarango’s office.
One of the core values of Commonwealth Scholarship is to facilitate alumni’s engagement with the community so they can leverage their considerable knowledge and expertise in developing the socio-economic conditions of the country. On behalf of the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission (CSC) in the UK, British Council had organised the workshop.
The workshop was part of SDG goal five which focuses on gender equality and around 150 women and adolescent girls who have been victims of gender violence attended the programme. Small group of Commonwealth alumni conducted various sessions on skill development, harassment against women and girls and discussed the challenges that women have to bear.
The programme opened with an art competition with thirty adolescent girls who drew some excellent sketches under the theme of violence-free family, society and city. After lunch, Ms Kohinoor Yeasmin, CEO of Tarango and a Commonwealth alumnus opened the workshop with a note of thanks to other alumni who had volunteered to conduct the sessions and expressed her hope that the participants would benefit from the knowledge gained in the programme. Mr Towhidur Rahman, Head of Higher Education and Regional Manager, South Asia Commonwealth Scholarship and Fellowship Plan spoke about the range of activities the alumni have been doing in Bangladesh to engage with the community.
The two Commonwealth alumni, Saudia Anwer from UNDP and Farhana Sharmin from WHO conducted brief sessions with about 130 working mothers and adolescent girls. A brief talk followed the alumni session focusing on “Hear Me Too” where Mr Towhidur Rahman shared how women harassment is a widespread issue and even working women in high positions have experienced it at some point. The talk was followed by a cultural performance by victims of gender violence, and subsequently, prizes were distributed to the winners of the art competition and the dance performers.
Mr Towhidur Rahman said, “Violence against women is one of the most widespread, persistent, and shocking human rights violations in our world today. Most victims and survivors are unknown. They are voiceless and suffering on silence. I am urging them to speak up so the world can know the atrocities caused by those criminal”
The event drew to a close with short closing notes appreciating the courage of the women working at Tarango and also the Commonwealth alumni who came to share their knowledge with these women. All the participants left their handprints on canvas to say “No violence against women and children”.