Monday, March 15, 2010

Habitat Bangladesh Celebrate International Women’s Day in a Different Way

In celebration of International Women’s Day, Habitat for Humanity International - Bangladesh gathered over 50 women to build homes with beneficiaries in South Rajashan in Savar on Friday 5th of March.

Forty women signed up for the 2nd annual Women Build event with Habitat Bangladesh and they were joined by eight other women staff of Habitat Bangladesh and female beneficiaries.

The event has been generously sponsored by Bangla Trac, Neway Bangladesh and its sister concern Guardian Travels and Cargo Limited.

At the opening ceremony Habitat Bangladesh’s National Director Ms. Kelly Koch expressed happiness on the fine blend of participants from the Bangladeshi and expatriate communities. Ms. Koch said, “It is very exciting to witness you all actively participating to contribute to the lives of other women and their families.”

The three female homeowners, Rumi Begum, Rina Begum and Rasida Begum and their families worked tirelessly all through the day, and expressed their gratitude to the volunteers for assisting to build their new homes.

An exciting addition to this year’s Women Build was an Open Dialogue among the participants. Two facilitators; Ms. Quazi Baby and Ms. Samia Ahmed led the participants on discussions of the topics: Women at the Workplace; Challenges and Opportunities; and Women’s Land Rights and Inheritance Issues. The Dialogue was very lively and the participants, Habitat home-partners (beneficiaries) and staff actively shared their views on the issues.

Quazi Baby is the founder and Executive Director of Participatory Development Action Program (PDAP). Samia Ahmed is currently the Director for the South Asia Forum on Responsive Business and has spent a number of years working for ActionAid Bangladesh, most recently leading the Stop Violence against Women, Women’s Rights & Gender Equality Sector.

Beneficiary Rumi Begum was a perfect example how homeownership empowers women. Rumi Begum works at a garments factory and saved enough money to buy 1.5 decimal land which was in addition to the .5 decimal which she inherited from her father. Rumi Begum commented during the discussion, “I think my future is secured because if my two sons do not take care of me when I am old, I would not fear loosing this house as I own the title of the land now we are building our Habitat home on it.”

The day was all about helping each other, meeting new friends, making a practical difference and reflection on the circumstances of women across Bangladesh.

Women Build is a fundraising and awareness building concept of Habitat for Humanity around the world. It has gathered involvement from women and support from men to carry forward Habitat’s mission in eliminating poverty housing. Women participants in these builds vary from home-makers to professionals, celebrities and representatives of different organizations and institutions.