The 30th Founding anniversary of Rokeya Sadan, a shelter home for the inmates was held on 3rd January 2016 at Sufia Kamal Bhaban auditorium. The event was presided over by Ayesha Khanam, president, Bangladesh Mahila Parishad while Tarik-ul-Islam, honourable Secretary of the Social Welfare ministry of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh and Protiva Mutsuddhi, the Director of Kumudini Welfare Trust were present as special Guests. Besides, Maleka Banu, the General Secretary of the organisation, and Nasrin Mansur, the Secretary of the Rokeya Sadan, also delivered their speech.
The event started with a cultural programme performed by Rabeya, Nabin, Mayabi, Shirin, Sonchita, Ayesha and Fahima from Rokeya Sadan.
In her address Ayesha Khanam said that Bangladesh Mahila Parishad has been working hard to achieve women’s rights for more than four decades and Rokeya Sadan is one of their important schemes. This organization had been established for a practical reason and it runs voluntarily. It has been working to change the traditional patriarchal perceptions of the society and this effort will continue in future. She also added that when the family, society and laws stay reluctant to help any woman victim, Mahila Parishad comes forward to assist her. She mentions that Rokeya Sadan is a symbol of the expectations of Mahila Parishad and the organisation will endure its journey as a driving force in the women’smovement.
Protiva Mutsuddhi, the Director of Kumudini Welfare Trust and the special guest of the programme, in her speech said that Sufia Kamal, the great Bengali poet and philanthropist, was the Founder Chairperson of Mahila Parishad. She never tolerated any injustice and dedicated her life to establish women’s rights in the society. She reminded that the literacy rate among the women in the region was very low and there was almost no right of opinions for women. Despite all these challenges this organisation has secured its firm position and established a shelter home for the distressed and underprivileged women of the society. This achievement proves that the leadership roles a m re being performed by the true successors of Begum Rokeya Shakhawat Hossain. She advised the girls of Rokeya Sadan to try to become establishedas humans, not only as women, in the society. She also requested the government to take similar initiatives in the country and properly run those schemes.
The honourable secretary of the Social Welfare Ministry of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh Tarik-ul-Islam mentioned that Rokeya Sadan has set an example in the country. According to him, Mahila Parishad has not only provided shelter to a number of girls, the ultimate aim of the organization is to establish them in the society. He advised that the government can take assistance from Mahila Parishad in running its 211 Women and Children Shelter Homes. By referring to the confident speeches of the girls of Rokeya Sadan he found that they have the potential to emerge as social leaders. He also added that Mahila Parishad is a pioneer organization in the women’s rights movement and with the collaboration with the government and similar types of organization it can perform its roles more effectively.
Maleka Banu, the General Secretary of Mahila Parishad, remembered the organization’s founder Chairperson Poet Begum Sufia Kamal and those who contributed to establish the shelter home. She mentioned that while working to eradicate violence against women the organization felt the need for establishing a shelter home for woman victims, and Rokeya Sadan is the outcome of this determination. In her address she mentioned the importance of changing personal views towards women and young children in order to get rid of the ongoing crisis in establishing women’s rights in the society. She hoped that the girls of Rokeya Sadan would be able to establish themselves with their confidence and inner spirits.
Nasrin Mansur, the Secretary of Rokeya Sadan, discussed the rules and procedures of running the centre. She acknowledged that her team did not have enough experience to operate such kind of shelter home, but it is now running successfully. ‘We consider the girls of this shelter home, who did not lose their motivation and objectives while experiencing suppressions and ill treatments, as the power of our women’s rights movement’, she said.
Two girls of Rokeya Sadan namely Rabeya Akhter and Sanchika Rani also spoke in the event. They said that it is because of this centre they possess the hope to be established in the society. They now want to contribute in the ongoing women’s rights movement and help the destitute women in the society. They requested all to extend their cordial support to them.
In the event books and certificates were distributed among the girls of the centre. The entire programme was anchored by Arifa Choudhury Himel, teacher of Rokeya Sadan; Dr Shamim Afroz Alvi, member of the Sub-committee; and two girls of the centre named Shirin and Fahima.