Women’s Empowerment Projects in Bangladesh
Asia is full of opportunities for volunteers the serve underprivileged communities. While many people in Asia live comfortable lives there are still many who live in poverty-stricken regions with little access to modern healthcare and education. Volunteering in these communities gives you the chance to see cultures much different from your own while having a meaningful impact on the people with in these disadvantaged communities. Opportunities to help are everywhere.
Bangladesh is one of the poorer countries in South Asia. Again, many in the country have made a good life for themselves and their families working in the industries there, but too many are forced to live in substandard conditions and work for considerably less pay than we are used to in the west. Children and adults alike in many communities in the country live below the poverty line and lack many advantages we enjoy.
When volunteering in Bangladesh, there are many ways you can help. Working and orphanages or schools is a great way to help the children of the country. Volunteering your time in a hospital is a great way to help the poor population of Bangladesh that may not have easy access to basic medical care. Some who volunteer in Bangladesh choose to work with a women’s empowerment project that is designed to help single mothers or women who must work to support their families. These projects aim to give women the tools they need to better their own lives as well as the lives of their families.
Working with Women in Bangladesh
While working in Bangladesh, you will be immersed in a vibrant and breathtaking culture. Living and working in the very community you are serving gives you the correct perspective needed to make a lasting difference in the lives of the people there. Working with women in these communities is a great way to see the challenges women face in Bangladeshi culture. For the most part, women in Bangladesh enjoy many of the same rights and privileges that men do. The population in Bangladesh is mostly Muslim, so there are a few cultural differences in the way men and women see their own roles in the society. Generally men are the ones who go out, find a job, and work to make money for the family. Women, for the most part, raise the children, help around the house, and prepare meals. While this works for many women in the country, some women must do both: make the money and take care of the household. Some women may no longer have a husband who can take care of them financially and are forced to work long hours for little money. Women’s empowerment projects in Bangladesh seek to provide women with new skills and tools that will allow them to seek better employment as well as help them provide for their children.
Single mothers, as with everywhere in the world, work very hard to keep their children healthy and happy. Volunteers who work in Bangladesh to help women often time help ease the burden these women face everyday. This can mean anything from watching the kids while the mother goes to a technical college to receive training for a new job or simple getting a meal ready for the kids while the mother is coming home from work. Every tiny thing volunteers do to help a women better her own life in the community is greatly appreciated.
Many women in Bangladesh come from rural or poor communities. Helping these women get training or education can help them pursue better career opportunities in the future. The importance of this can not be overstated. Many women in poor regions of Bangladesh feel as though there is no way out of the cycle of poverty. Giving women a chance at an education or the opportunity to learn a new trade can give them the means to a better life. Even though your time volunteering may be short and not allow you to see the full fruits of your labor, the help you give to women’s empowerment projects in Bangladesh will linger on long after you have gone.
Volunteering in Bangladesh comes with its own set of challenges that volunteers should know about before committing to a volunteer project. Depending on what kind of volunteer work you do will present different challenges and working with women’s empowerment projects in Bangladesh is no different. Women in Bangladesh endure hardships that many women in the west do not have to put up with. Many cultural standards keep them from pursuing certain opportunities. As you work with women in Bangladesh, many of these hardships will be evident, but it’s important to remember that you are not in your own culture, and whether you like it or not, things are done a little differently in Bangladesh. Some women you will work with have been through abandonment or sexual abuse. Seeing victums of such terrible things can be hard for some volunteers but it’s important to remember that you are helping these women recover from their rough past.
Living in rural and poor communities in Bangladesh comes with it’s own set of challenges as well. Modern comforts may be few and far between in the community in which you volunteer. Volunteers must be able to live and work in conditions that are very different from their own. Western food options are limited and it helps if you are a adventurous eater. But don’t worry, Bangladesh is proud to have some pretty amazing cuisine! It takes a special kind of volunteer to work in Bangladesh and put their own comforts aside for a few weeks so they can truly see what life is like for the people who live in these disadvantaged communities.
Despite the challenges volunteers will face while they work in Bangladesh, these are greatly outweighed by the rewards you receive. Working with women in a country where it can be very difficult for women to better their own situation gives you a great sense of accomplishment. Even if you can’t volunteer for very long, you will leave knowing that you had a powerful impact on the lives of women and their families. Unfortunately, Bangladesh doesn’t offer women too many opportunities to rise out of the poverty cycle, and volunteering to make even the smallest difference is very rewarding for everyone involved.
As you live and serve in the community, locals will see you not as a tourist, but as a visitor who is trying to help. They know that you took time out of your life to fly to the other side of the world to see what life was like in less developed communities and work to make the local’s situation better. You show locals that people all over the world do care about their situation and are actively trying to help, even if it’s in a small way. You will see as you live in the community, that despite the big cultural differences, we are most the same and want similar things for our loved ones.
The relationships you make with locals and other volunteers will stay with you for a lifetime. Even if you only volunteer for a few weeks, the memories you make helping women in Bangladesh will stay with you forever. As you return home, these memories will help you see members of your own community differently, and you will be able to bring back some of the things you learned in Bangladesh with you. Taking what you learn while helping women in Bangladesh and putting it toward helping your own communities is what make volunteering such a great opportunity. Not only will you help those in less fortunate communities on the other side of the world, but you will also gain experiences that will stay with you for a lifetime and help you see the world in a new way.