weaving by half a century
centuries, people have been struggling for their right to
be free and independent. Women, even today, have to battle
it out to get their voices heard and expressions considered.
As Napoleon said, the hand that rocks the cradle rules the
world. However, it's a shame to still see this so-called weaker
sex struggling to come up and face their counterparts, men,
who, since the origin of mankind have been ruling the elements
of nature, the ways of the world, and controlling the female
years ago, on 19 of October 19, 1954, when the then East Pakistan
was plunging into a disastrous flood, destroying homes and
lands, a group of local and foreign ladies from the different
embassies and UN offices in Dhaka and Narayanganj established
what we know today as the Women's Voluntary Association. Initially,
the association was called the Women's Voluntary Services,
headed by Dr. Madeline Pinkerton, a British doctor, and senior
advisor of the Maternal and Child Health Care at Dhaka. The
first committee formed under Dr. Pinkerton began by helping
the distraught, the flood-stricken and the poor. Emphasis
was placed on the status of women, especially women with no
homes, providing them with financial and emotional support.
24, 2004, celebrating its Golden Jubilee at Hotel Sonargaon,
WVA focused on the many activities that the organisation has
been working on for the past 50 years. Present president of
WVA, Ruby Rahman, spoke about the number of needy and homeless
women and for the children who now have homes, thanks to the
various opportunities created for these women to work and
children to educate themselves. President of Bangladesh, Dr.
Iajuddin Ahmed and Minister for Cultural Affairs, Selina Begum,
who were present at the inaugural ceremony of the two day
programme, appreciated the fact that WVA has been working
their way towards enhancing our culture.
an income generating group, sells children's clothes made
by underprivileged women. The committee pays the workers and
keeps a minimum profit for the WVA.
Disabled Children's Residential Centre, is probably the most
prominent project of all. This centre provides food, shelter,
education, and medical and physiotherapy treatment for needy,
physically handicapped children between the ages of five to
Children's Day Clinic's main objective is to give free treatment
to the disabled children.
all the special projects run by WVA, the Education Group is
very important. The committee runs and manages three primary
schools, where about 450 students, mostly girls, are being
Planning, the group's fundamental task is to create awareness
of family planning among the distressed and helpless women.
Recently, a Free Friday Clinic was established where these
women are given free advice regarding childbirth and family
Group has been displaying the women's extraordinary talent
in embroidery and various kinds of needle-work.
Committee supports around 35 girls every year, where they
are trained in sewing, computers and nursing.
has come a long way in the last 50 years. Needless to say,
the Association still has many more steps to take and many
more hurdles to jump through. But the success of its various
projects proves that the desire to help others when channelled
by organisational efficiency and determination.
(R) thedailystar.net 2004