Promoting Human Rights and Education in Bangladesh - Nicola HurdTHE Chittagong based non-governmental organisation PHREB (Promoting Human Rights and Education in Bangladesh) has been running long-term school-based awareness campaigns since their establishment in 2004. The purpose of these campaigns is to educate young people on human rights issues and encourage them to speak out and defend their own human rights. These young people will gain confidence, which will empower them to mobilise their families and communities in the fight against gender-based violence.
The campaign begins in the form of workshops, in which young girls and boys learn through presentations and demonstrations from PHREB staff members about a variety of issues including illnesses and diseases, health care and sanitation, safe water and healthy eating, gender equality and violence against women. The students then participate in group-work sessions, to discuss what they have learned and then impart this knowledge to their peers through drama, song, dancing or debate.
During these workshops the staff select girls from each class to attend training sessions and seminars, which equip them with the tools needed to become members of Bangladesh Kishori Adhikar Forum (BKAF)
In these training sessions and seminars the girls learn in depth about the issues affecting themselves and other females in Bangladesh. They also learn how to raise their voice in order to seek and access their fundamental rights.
During the violence against Women seminars, the girls can speak out about the violence, abuse and victimisation they are suffering.
Police officials attending these seminars can then offer advice and support to the girls. On 16th July 2009 the deputy police commissioner of Chittagong (North) Mr. Banaj Kumar Majumdar attended PHREB's seminar, giving the girls further opportunity to be heard and further highlighting the importance of reporting violent incidents to the police.
PHREB has been reaching out to a number of new schools since the beginning of July. Campaigns in these new schools have been very successful, with PHREB staff doing an excellent job of engaging these young people, whose views and ideas have been inspirational. Students have been enthusiastic and energetic about learning; many of them asking for the sessions to continue for longer and wanting to know when they will next be visited by PHREB.
Currently PHREB runs campaigns at 250 schools per year, reaching out to over 300,000 students.
BKAF is an adolescent girl's alliance committed to motivating the victims of gender-based violence to become leaders of change whilst also continuing to raise awareness on issues of violence against women, sexual and reproductive rights, maternal health and women's rights. These adolescent "change makers" then have the opportunity to speak at the annual Adolescent Girls' Summit, among key community persons, police, civil society bodies and other Women's rights organisations. BKAF has grown dramatically since it began in 2004 and now has in excess of 26,000 members in 225 chapters.
By continuing its innovative campaigns and interventions, PHREB wants to make human rights a fact in Bangladesh so that every man and woman enjoys equal human rights and freedoms. PHREB dreams of a Bangladesh in which violence against girls does not exist, and will continue to work towards stopping all forms of violence against girl children. In the immediate future PHREB aims to increase the amount of individuals they visit each year, with an aim of reaching 300 plus Schools in the Chittagong region next year, 100 communities, 150 mosques in addition to developing further adolescent, head teacher and community alliances.
If you would like to learn more about PHREB and get involved with its activities, you can visit the website at: www.phreb.org
Or contact the Executive Director Faridul Alam:
Telephone number: +880 31 257 1170
Email Address: firstname.lastname@example.org.