"Alokito Grameen Nari Shommanona 2021" was recently organized by Alokito Shishu and Volunteer Opportunities with the support of Manusher Jonno Foundation and UK Aid, with the view of International Rural Women's Day.
Three people in each of two categories, namely "Rural Women Entrepreneurship" and "Rural Women Leadership", were awarded at the ceremony held at Krishibid Institution Bangladesh (KIB) on Khamarbari Road in our capital.
The three winners in the Rural Women Entrepreneurship category are Jamila Begum, Shapla Debi Tripura and Shirin Akhter Nipun.
In the Rural Women Leadership are Khujista Begum Jonaki, Sabitri Hemobromo and Monish Meem Nipun.
The main purpose of this event was to learn the stories behind the success of enlightened rural women and to honour them for their outstanding leadership or contribution to the community, with the slogan "Demand for Rural Women's Day is the recognition of rural women's work".
11,000 written pledges signed by students from thirty educational institutions in eight departments across the country were handed over to the 'Manusher Jonno Foundation' in the event to ensure the dignity, recognition and rights of rural women.
The aim of the pledge signing event, titled "Shakkhor Hok Poribortoner Ongikarnamay", was to collect 10,000 pledges and signatures in recognition of the work of rural women.
This target was exceeded as 11,000 youths expressed solidarity by writing and signing various pledges, including prevention of domestic violence against women, prevention of child marriage, and ensuring government allocations to empower rural women.
Member of parliament Aroma Dutta was present as the Chief Guest on the occasion.
Rezwan Haque, chief news editor, Maasranga Television; Shampa Reza, actress and activist; Rashed Mujib Noman, founder, Humanity Worldwide Foundation; Ahsan Bhuiyan, founder, Change; Tauhida Jahan, assistant professor and chairperson, Department of Communication Disabilities, Dhaka University; Bipasha Sharmin Hossain, senior technical advisor, SwissContact Bangladesh; Rezwanul Haque Jami, head of e-commerce, ATUI and Banasree Mitra Neogi, gender advisor, Foundation for People were also present.
A panel of two categories of judges - Ellen Selima Hossain, program and project director, BetterStories Ltd.; Sarah Jita, national consultant, UNDP; Tanjiral Dilshad Ditan, founder, CrayonMag; Nasima Akter Nisha, joint secretary, E-Commerce Association of Bangladesh; Shabnam Mushtari, country manager, Leadership in Motion and Samia Afrin, managing director, Fortress Ventures Limited, were present as special guests.
Mithun Das Kabbo, founder of Alokito Shishu kicked off the event with his inaugural speech followed by speeches of special guests and judges.
They focused on the recognition of rural women's work and overcoming the discrimination between men and women and becoming 'human' as a whole.
Actress and activist Shampa Reza said, "The difference between men and women is only external, hence we should penetrate this wall and nurture what we are within."
They also praised the program organizers and believed that this type of program would inspire more rural women to overcome their barriers.
After their speech, the winners spoke about their struggles and how they overcame those.
Rural Women Entrepreneurship Award winner Jamila Begum said, "I am a woman butcher and when I chose this life, many people did not take it easily and bad-mouthed. But now, as I am receiving honour from different places for my work, I don't look back and regret."
The Chief Guest, Aroma Dutta, then expressed her gratitude and said, "The winners of today's event are the pioneers and pride of our country."
Afterwards, the crests were handed over to the winners and the program was concluded with a short cultural event.