Women Changes Scenario in Baufal Shoals
Md. Sohrab Hossain
When we hear that someone is being tortured by her husband or some others, we run to the spot with our video cameras and hold the scene in our videos. Later, we submit a complaint with video tapes to the law enforcing agency or the local chairman or the arbitrators to take necessary action against the culprits", said Salma of Char Wadel, a remote shoal, about 30 Km in the South-East from Baufal upazila headquarter.
'Persecution of women in the shoal areas has remarkably decreased because of these initiative of ours. Many persecutors have already been identified through these tapes and punished by the concerned authority,' she added.
“Not only that, we also prepare documentaries on various local problems like want of drinking water; demand of khas land, roads, culverts, sluice gates, cyclone shelters, etc with our video cameras. These video reports are shown to the concerned upazila or district level officials for taking necessary actions. By watching these videos they can consider the nature and extent of the problem situations.”
Salma went on to explain, “Our documentaries play an important role in dealing with many acts of violence against women. There are quite a number of officials who are often reluctant to visit remote shoals areas even when a crime has been reported. We have already been able to address many such problems through our documentary,' said Salma with confidence.
There are four video cameras for the same number of teams in the three shoals. Each team is working under the leadership of an ICT (Information & Communication Technology) coordinator. Salma is one of the coordinators.
Salma who completed her SSC level of education took a 12-day training on 'video operating' course organised by Speed Trust, a local NGO which launched the program in the area in November, 2002. Now she can operate video camera and also do video auditing. Her job has now made it possible for her to contribute at least Tk. 2000 to her family of three that includes her two children.
She, like Jesmin, Rina Ghos, Parvin Akter, Shahanur Begum, Khairun Nahar, all aged between 25 and 30, have now a changed view of life. They do not only dream of a better life with education for their children, but also know that they can make their dreams come true.
All four teams listen to agricultural talk programmes and bulletins on radio regularly and note down the necessary information from there. Later they discuss the noted information in relation to their problems and possibilities at their project office on every Friday. These discussions and information help them cultivate various vegetables at their yards and small vacant plots of land adjacent to their houses.
Khairun Nahar, a house wife said, 'We are getting very good results from all these activities and we're getting financially benefited, too.'
'We are trying to bring about changes for the better through ICT which has already changed women's lot significantly in Baufal shoal areas', Khairun Nahar added.
Speed Trust launched the prooject at char Wadel with the financial help of Action Aid and UNDP in order to remove poverty through the ICT. Four separate ICT circles were formed in the three shoals char Wadel, char Miazan and char Kachua areas. Under each circle, there are 25 poor women members.
Hemayet the In-charge of the project said, "First we taught them reading, writing and simple calculations at the office and then gave them training on various trades.
After completion of the training, every woman could receive loans for income generating activities such as, poultry, goat-cow raising and vegetable farming."
Income of some of the women is up to Tk 4,000 from such business.
Khadija, a member of the NGO said that earelier she had no voice in decision making about any important family matters. Her husband did not care for her opinions because she was illiterate. Now he often takes her views into consideration because she is no longer illiterate and also earns for the family.
(R) thedailystar.net 2006