Sunday, April 26, 2009
Habitat Bangladesh hosts its first Women Build!
Habitat for Humanity International – Bangladesh (HFHI-B) held its first ever Women Build on Friday 3 April. A total of 45 foreign and Bengali women turned out for the event in Savar, located one hour northwest of the capital, Dhaka.
The theme of the day was ‘Celebrating Women’s Engagement in Development’, and that we did! The day commenced with National Director, Kelly Koch welcoming the volunteers and providing some insights into the role of women and challenges they face in Bangladesh. Speaking of Habitat’s work, Ms. Koch discussed how the organization “seeks to empower women through home ownership, family decision making, and education and training.”
The female volunteers worked on four different houses that were at various stages of construction. Building activities included digging, pounding and levelling the floor, carrying sand and water, sifting sand, and making brick chips.
After a very productive morning, the four teams came together for a lunch break in a shady area of South Rajashon village. The volunteers were excited to spend a day out of the hustle and bustle of Dhaka and work at Habitat build sites, while meeting homeowners and the community. “Volunteering with Habitat means so much more than just giving money to an organisation”, said Stephanie Ryan, an Australian woman currently residing in Dhaka.
After lunch, it was time for some more building, and despite the heat, the women worked hard to complete their building activities for the day. One male member of the community was in disbelief that the women had actually volunteered to spend the day in his village building. Local women in the community were motivated and inspired by the female volunteers. “Seeing so many foreign women in my village, helping my family and I to build our house, inspires me to also help others,” said Habitat homeowner, Amina Begum.
Habitat Bangladesh would like to thank all 45 women who volunteered and helped make the day successful. Much needed funds were raised for HFHI-B, but more importantly, we celebrated women’s engagement in development, and have given hope to the many women who continue to be disadvantaged as gender inequality is widespread in Bangladesh. We hope to host another Women Build event later in the year.
- Monica Gray