Brihonnola, an inclusive platform for the transgender community, has been working to achieve equal rights for transgender individuals since its establishment in 2018. Founded by Sadikul Islam, a master’s student at Institute of Education and Research, University of Dhaka (DU), the organisation has arranged many events and meetings focused on young people and their acceptance of the transgender community. Brihonnola received Joy Bangla Youth Award in 2018 for their outstanding contribution in promoting inclusive society.
In 2017, Education Entrepreneurship Society arranged an event, titled ‘Edupreneurship Idea Quest’, where Sadikul presented his idea of an inclusive platform for the transgender community. “On a gloomy evening in 2011, I had an unexpected encounter with a transgender person whose kindness and thoughtful behaviour got me thinking about how badly we treat these people, without the slightest thought,” shares Sadikul. From that day onwards, Sadikul thought of doing something for the transgender community.
Brihonnola started with just 15 members, and has expanded with 45 volunteers and 21 executive community members who are working actively to achieve its goals.
They arranged their first event in 2018 Eid-Ul-Fitr. As part of their campaign for mainstream inclusion of the transgender community, Brihonnola also organised a tour to Sylhet with 21 transgender people and 26 DU students in the same year.
For the first time in DU, Brihonnola hosted ‘Iftar for Inclusion’ with 70 transgender people, this year. They are planning to organise another inclusive tour in Cox’s Bazar in December.
With the slogan, ‘Change habit, save lives’, Brihonnola organised a cleanliness campaign this October, where 100 members of the transgender community participated. In this event, team Brihonnola introduced Udbastu Aronnyak, the first ever wall magazine by the transgender community. They are planning to launch another campaign to clean the beaches in Cox’s Bazar this year, as a part of their ‘War Against Rubbish’ campaign.
Sadikul plans to set up a learning centre in each district, arrange training facilities, and provide basic education and counselling facilities, especially for the transgender community. “We want the transgender people to be empowered socially, academically, and economically. This will help their inclusion into the mainstream society,” he mentions. “Right now, legal recognition as an organisation will help us in gathering funds for the future initiatives so that we can play a more impactful role for the transgender community.”
At present, Brihonnola has four separate wings: research, cultural, youth networking and relationship development, and accessible environment promotion. The organisation has already included Chittagong University and formed an executive committee at the institution. Thry plan to do the same in other universities, inside and outside Dhaka.