The event, which lasted from 10am to 5pm, consisted of a day-long session of a painting competition for children, speeches by women entrepreneurs, musical performances, and ended with an open discussion,between the participants and the organizers, and a prize giving ceremony. One of the acts was a poetry recitation session by anonymous artiste known as ‘Our Lady of Bengal.’ She was dressed in white saree and her face was covered in bandages, and both her appearance and recitation caused a stir among the audience. Some of them went searching for her to congratulate her, but could not find her
Radio Shadhin 92.4FM concluded their 16-day long campaign, titled “Rise up for Women Conference 2018,” on a grand scale yesterday (Monday) at Hotel Galesia and Resort Limited in Banani, featuring an open discussion between the members of the audience and the famous screen pair Aly and Sara Zaker.
The event, which lasted from 10am to 5pm, consisted of a day-long session of a painting competition for children, speeches by women entrepreneurs, musical performances, and ended with an open discussion,between the participants and the organizers, and a prize giving ceremony. One of the acts was a poetry recitation session by anonymous artiste known as “Our Lady of Bengal.” She was dressed in white saree and her face was covered in bandages, and both her appearance and recitation caused a stir among the audience. Some of them went searching for her to congratulate her, but could not find her.
Most riveting were the frank narration of experiences by women victims, who faced violence and abuse. An audience member exclaimed that, “These women are a lot more stronger than me. To come out and express their ‘horror stories’ on such an open platform shows a lot of courage.”
The open discussion was moderated by a celebrity voice actor of Bangladesh Mir Fazle Rabby. Esteemed individuals, such as, Chairperson of Asiatic360 Aly Zaker, Vice Chairperson Sara Zaker, Managing Director of Radio Shadhin Neville Ferdous Hasan, Executive Director of Manusher Jonno Foundation Shaheen Anam, Senior Director of Communications and Strategy at Brac Asif Saleh, and Program Analyst of UN Women Mahtabul Hakim, all shared anecdotes to highlight the problems women have to face in the status quo.
The Open Discussion
Sara Zaker began the open discussion with: “I have been with Radio Shadhin from the start. When we were conceptualizing this radio station, we were thinking of beginning discussions that would help people to get away from the age-old thought processes, that leads to violence and discrimination towards women. We wanted to break the stereotypes about women. Hence, the tagline for this campaign began with‘Rise up.’ We want women to be aware of the stereotypes regarding them. We want them to know what the people think about them.
“This campaign is very dear to Radio Shadhin, as its think tank is always trying to keep the plaguing societal issues at the back of their minds while planning shows. Therefore, I am very proud of this radio station,” she added.
Aly Zaker said: “I was writing a chapter of my memoir yesterday. That chapter narrates a memory of the time when I reached my beloved city Dhaka after fighting in the Liberation War. This was on January 10, 1972, the day Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman returned to Bangladesh. I remember seeing all the residents of Dhaka, dressed in colourful attires, taking the streets to celebrate his return. I saw equal number of men and women on that day. I even mentioned in my memoir that ‘I don’t remember seeing Dhaka so colourful in my life.’That equality is lost.
“The discussions we should be having socially, have been hijacked by political aggression based on religion. We have to prevent this from happening. This struggle will not be easy. If we try to fight this our lives could be in jeopardy. However we should not be afraid. We must have these discussions. Behind the hijacking of these discussions there are some ‘organized aggressions.’ I am proud of Radio Shadhin for instigating and continuing these discussions, in spite of all of that.”
Radio Shadhin organized “Rise up for Women Conference 2018” in association with UN Women, Brac, Manusher Jonno Foundation, Acid Survivors Foundation, Engaging Men and Boys Alliance, CSKK and Bangladesh Mahila Parishad.
Today’s event was a culmination of 16-day radio conference, held everyday from November 25 to December 10.With the host Mir Fazle Rabby, the conference went on in two sessions everyday with the participation of Shaheen Anam, Aly Zaker, Sara Zaker, Farah Kabir, Selina Ahmed, Palash Kanti Das, Asif Saleh, Kurshid Alam and many other esteemed names. They participated in a direct question answer session with female survivors of violence and the general audience. Social awareness related musical sessions were held in between discussions performed by renowned artistes of todays’ time.
Radio Shadhin is a private radio station. For over 5 years, after the establishment in 2013, apart from broadcasting entertainment based shows, they have been also organizing and broadcasting shows to create awareness about different societal issues.