Indigenous youth as agents of change

Article: 09.08.23, Bangladesh

The International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples is celebrated globally on 9 August. It’s a day to reflect on the challenges Indigenous peoples face all over the world and to take steps toward promoting and protecting their rights.

In light of this year’s theme, “Indigenous Youth as Agents of Change for Self-determination”, we want to share stories of ten young women from various indigenous communities in Bangladesh who raised their voices for a better future.

Shuvodra Khisa

Girls taking a stand for their rights

Almost 12,000 indigenous girls and young women ages 10-25 came together last summer to identify key challenges that they were facing in their communities. In 842 different girls' groups throughout the Chittagong Hill Tracts in Bangladesh, girls came together to take a stand for their rights. The groups made theatre performances, music, artwork, and other creative means to share their experience and express the need for change on topics concerning child marriage, gender-based violence, menstrual health, and other key topics.

“Through the girls' clubs, I have been able to speak out on a topic I am very passionate about: the harassment faced by women and girls, especially in public spaces” Shuvodra Khisa, 17 years old, Khagracharai

The goal of the creative projects is to create change based on the priority topic selected by presenting their work to parents, community leaders and in some cases government officials.

Be inspired by “Voices for Change”

“We have learned about the consequences of child marriage from the girls who participated in the training held in the girls’ club. In the past girls were not given as much importance in education as boys were. However, we now understand that both men and women have the right to education.” Robert Tripura Karbari.

Simavi, BNPS, and the Center for Communication Action Bangladesh went out to record 10 stories from girls from the clubs and gathered them in a booklet: “Voices for Change”. We hope that their courage, motivation, and strength will inspire you to and continue to amplify the calls from indigenous folks and girls'.

Girls from Moanghar Girls Club, Khagrachari are working on their poster presentation

More stories

We highlighted the story of Lalasing Marma earlier this year and in our Impact Report. These creative projects are part of the Our Lives, Our Health, Our Futures programme funded by the European Union.

Supporter of the programme

Esther Oeganda

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