Thirteen-year old Bokul stopped going to school, feeling unsafe because of eve-teasing. Despite her mother's protest, Bokul's father and grandmother married her off forcibly.
At her in-laws' house, Bokul found it hard to make everybody happy. She gave birth to a baby girl, making her life even more difficult. She now wants to return to school. But, it is impossible!
This is the story of “Voice of Bokul”, a play performed by a troupe of underprivileged children from Protigga Foundation, at a programme held at Azampur Government Primary School yesterday.
Zonta Club of Dhaka IV organised the event as part of the “16 Days of Activism Against Gender-based Violence” campaign marking International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women (November 25, 2018).
Protigga Foundation is a partner of Zonta Club of Dhaka IV, which works for advancing the status of women.
A total of 20 underprivileged girls, students of class VI to VIII, were given free sewing machines at the event, on completion of a three-month long training programme.
“We all can now make women's apparels -- salwar-kameez, frocks, blouses etc. I will set the sewing machine in my house [at Faridabad area of Uttara], and will train other girls there,” Monika Akhter, a seventh-grade student told The Daily Star.
According to the officials of the Zonta Club of Dhaka IV, they conduct different skills-based training programmes for underprivileged girls every year.
“We initiated these programmes a few years back to empower underprivileged girls. The number of girls we can accommodate depends on the availability of funds,” Naushi Mahrukh, president of Zonta Club Dhaka IV told The Daily Star.
Zakia Anam, a psychologist; Salma Wafa, a physician; Razia Rahman, chairperson and CEO of Protigga Foundation, and actress Nina Rahman spoke on the harmful impacts of child marriage at the event.
They urged the girls and their guardians to take a stand against the social menace.
Among others, Vice Area Director of Zonta Club of Dhaka IV Zareen Delwar Karim, students and their guardians attended the programme.
Zonta Club of Dhaka IV is one of the six branches of Zonta International in Bangladesh.
Founded in 1919, US-based Zonta International has been working in 60 countries with the mission of advancing the status of women.