Brihonnola reaches out to those in need
Seeking an equal and inclusive society, Brihonnola relentlessly works with the transgender community. The organisation intends to include transgender individuals in the mainstream society, while promoting gender equality in Bangladesh. Sadikul Islam started Brihonnola in 2018, along with an executive team of 15 members, amongst which most were transgender people.
"We disbursed daily necessities and relief funds to the transgender community in the beginning," mentions Sadikul, who received the Joy Bangla Youth Award 2018. "During this pandemic, we initiated various social-awareness campaigns around Dhaka. A team of Brihonnola's transgender members have been volunteering in front of Dhaka Medical College regularly. They bring in medicines and assist patients. Seeing the smiling faces of city dwellers makes our transgender members feel more accepted. For them, this experience is life-changing." Brihonnola's members also deliver daily necessities to people's homes, and provide free, emergency oxygen masks.
However, their journey has not been a smooth one. "There is an ill-intending middle man circle at the hospital gates, and we are sometimes mistaken for them," says Sadikul. "On the other hand, some people are still hesitant about getting help from a transgender person because of social stigmas, or family pressures."
Research, cultural, youth networking and relationship development, accessible environment promotion, and education and skill development are the main departments of Brihonnola. The organisation also has three active executive committees, including the central committee, Chittagong University committee, and Dhaka University committee, with 100 members.
Facilitating financial and educational empowerment for the transgender community, Brihonnola provides counselling, and plans to open a learning centre for transgender people to equip them with necessary skills for various working environments. The organisation has reached out to multiple corporations about employing transgender individuals.
Brihonnola has been solely dependent on self-funding, which has been one of their biggest challenges. Despite the hindrances, the organisation plans to keep working towards empowering the transgender community.
The author is a freelance journalist. Email: email@example.com.