Magazine article Anglican Journal

From Bangladesh with Love: A PWRDF Partner Advocates for Women's Rights

Magazine article Anglican Journal

From Bangladesh with Love: A PWRDF Partner Advocates for Women's Rights

Article excerpt

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Farida Akhter is the executive director of UBINIG (Policy Research for Development Alternatives) in Bangladesh, an organization that works with rural and urban women. She also runs Nari Grantha Prabartana, the first and only feminist bookstore in Bangladesh. This bookstore has become an important meeting place for women.

Trained as a journalist, Farida is fluent in English, Bengali, Urdu and Hindi. On a recent visit to Canada, Farida--who has been a PWRDF partner for the last 10 years and is a member of the PWRDF Board of Directors--shared the following story with Kristin Jenkins.

I was born in Chittagong in the hands of a midwife instead of in a hospital, where the approach to childbirth is very medicalized. I graduated with a master's in economics from the University of Chittagong in Bangladesh. Instead of teaching, I joined an English-language newspaper called the People's View and started writing on social justice issues such as clean water and student unrest.

At present, I am working with a network of 450 midwives, known as Dai Ma Samity. This literally translates into the Midwives Mothers Association. We set up this network in December 2006, and PWRDF supported a large conference in Bangladesh. Some 300 midwives attended, and they debated with gynecologists about women's health issues.

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PWRDF also gave us tremendous support to publish a book. Most midwives are illiterate, so this book is not for them. It's to create awareness among the educated middle class of the role and value of midwives. …

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