It was in May 2020 that Naorin Pallaby, a Physical Education and Sports Science student from Rajshahi University, founded Sex Education Bangladesh. The platform started out as a content hub, where young contributors presented educational videos on sex education for the masses.
It soon grew into an online school with over 14,000 followers. However, Naorin faced many setbacks in getting rid of the stigma around the term, 'sex education', which still persists in our country.
"The word 'sex' in sex education does not only refer to sexual intercourse. Rather, sex education helps us to understand the various challenges of adolescence and develop values regarding sexual orientation, gender, and the biological formation of a living being," says Naorin.
She comes across several misconceptions, while working in the field of sex education. "On many occasions, people have mistaken me for a sex worker," shares Naorin.
She has been asked multiple times to change the name of her school, but she did not give in because it contradicts her purpose.
"I got my first period at the age of thirteen. I did not know anything about menstrual cycles. I was scared, and thought that the bleeding was from an internal injury. If I had access to sex education back then, I would not have been so terrified," she shares.
This incident helped Naorin to understand the importance of sex education, and challenging taboos by not just educating children, but also parents and teachers.
Presently, Sex Education Bangladesh has eight teachers from different universities, three doctors for counselling sessions, fifteen blog writers, and many tertiary-level students as volunteers.
Five content developers work on videos about puberty, reproductive health, child marriage, menstruation, good touch and bad touch, proper parenting, and marital rape among other topics. Two content developers of the team are working on books about sex education.
Sex Education Bangladesh is set to launch their first free online course, Good Parenting and Safe Childhood, today. "Sixty children, along with their parents, have registered for the course," adds Naorin.
The school will also start three long-term courses, Parenting and Child Safety (5-8 years), Know Yourself (9-13 years), and Towards Better Life (14-17 years), soon.
Moving forward, Naorin hopes to launch a website for Sex Education Bangladesh, offering counselling services, and programmes on sexually transmitted diseases.
The author is trainee reporter, Arts & Entertainment, The Daily Star. Email: email@example.com.