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The Bengali Women's Empowerment Group is rigorously walking in Norwood

The Bengali Women's Empowerment Group is rigorously walking in Norwood


SANJANA KHAN (R) and Ayesha Akhtar, the founders of LAAL, non-profit bengal ladies in Norwood, converse at Bangla Bazzar Road in June 23.
Photograph Síle Moloney

Sanjana Khan and Ayesha Akhtar grew just one block from Norwood. Both of their families pray at Sylhet in East Bangladesh on the River Surma. Nonetheless, the Bronx Narratives occasion befell last August at the Bronx Art Museum, so that both of them finally acquired it. A month later, they set up Laal, a non-profit group that supports Bengal ladies in Norwood, dwelling wholesome, entertaining and completely happy lives.

On 23 June, two ladies used the "womanning" group desk stand in the "Bangla Bazzar Street Fair", held at Decatur Avenue and East 204th Road. Along with a number of different volunteers, they have been held busy all through the day on subject points and questionnaires have been despatched to native Bengali ladies.

“It's an assessment of our needs because we are planning autumn and spring programming, and so we want to know what women want,” stated Akhtar, 29.

Khan, 28, acknowledges the value of those research based mostly on the responses he has acquired. “One of the favorite questions for women who have been here at the age of 20 is if this had happened 20 years ago, would this have helped them, and every woman was like, I hope this would have been 20 years ago! ”

Laal means" red "in Bangla. The identify and its shade symbolize the signal of menstruation, underneath (Henna-like tattoo) bengali ladies use to embellish themselves, the pink saree-bengali ladies put on on their wedding ceremony day, the purple bindi whose bengal ladies are well-known, and the purple sun which is the flag of Bangladesh in the center. The identify serves as a reminder of the power and sustainability of Bengali ladies.

"No Women Here," Khan stated, referring in specific to the absence of bengali ladies in connection with the official performances and awards at the truthful. “There is no representation. As always. ”

Through the years, the Bengal population has grown in Norwood by carving a space for itself, which is the cultural material of the island and a part of the neighborhood. In accordance with the US census, the proportion of foreign-born Bangladesh in the Group 7, which covers Bedford Park and Norwood, is 2,445, similar to four.2 % of the district's inhabitants. "This community is growing," stated Khan. "We are huge!"

The figures correspond to the full population of Bangladesh in Bangladesh, which, in response to the Asian-American Federation, grew by 42 per cent in just three years, from 34,237 in 2008 to 48,487 in 2011. Policy Group. About 20 % of the population lives in Bronx.

Limitations to Integration
The Federation invests in the poorest Asian ethnic teams in Bangladesh, one third of which lives under the poverty line in Bangladesh. Khan stated that Bangladesh now arrives extra in rural areas where the position of girls is extra traditional, largely depending on men.

The particular problems of Bengali ladies in the states are: In america for over 20 years, the worry of traveling outdoors the area people is partly because of the lack of information of city bus and metro techniques, the supply of public info and isolation. Akhtar added that the best way in which public info is often obtained in a Bengal group is oral orally as the City Office web site.

Based on Khan, these elements created new challenges for a group that is already coping with the consequences of Islamophobia, and Khan stated it had a distrust of the police. The 2014 US Department estimates that 89.9 % of the Bangladesh population is Muslim.

All these circumstances confirmed the need for bottom-up help providers tailor-made particularly for Bengal ladies to combine into American society. Here, Khan and Akhtar participate in their work with Laal, which delays the fragile line between Bengali and American tradition.

“We both went to college, which is very rare,” stated Akhtar. Referring to their alma matrix, he stated: “They are both very free art schools that are very far away and removed from here.”

Nonetheless they say the family's roots introduced them back to Norwood. “We left, but we came back here in Bronx, making it to our communities. So yes, we are here, ”stated Khan. “We know precisely what we're going for. We grew it. “Both ladies seek advice from their expertise once they see that their mom is fighting the identical issues as a motivating issue with out profit.

EXTERIOR BANGLADESHIS who lives in the circuit 7, which covers Bedford Park and Norwood, 2445, comparable to 4.2 % of the inhabitants of the district. Photograph: Síle Moloney

Adding Funds
Laal was additionally one of many 2019 Neighborhood Grants recipients admitted by the New York Citizens' Committee, whose mission is to assist New York, especially low-income areas, together and improve the quality of life in their neighborhoods

. a really small workforce and we are all pro-bono right now, ”stated Akhtar. “We want to raise $ 25,000 for years to finance our programs. It's an online campaign because it's the cheapest way to do it, so it's on GoFundMe. ”

Nonetheless, the ladies stated their work was not without obstacles. Andrew Cohen's Workplace and State Secretary Jamaal Bailey.

And whereas the wants evaluation falls inside the group's first algorithm, there are plans for the transport class.

“We're going to make a transport class in the spring,” he stated. Courses begin with a gaggle of volunteers and 5 Bengali ladies educated to make use of city buses and subways to Jackson Heights and different essential elements of the Bronx, resembling Fordham. Khan stated they might then mix the group and make the women go in pairs. He stated it was a small but empowering exercise that ladies might do for themselves.

"My mother has been here for 30 years and she still has a fear," Khan stated. “He has a driving license, but the worry of dropping. Khan places this worry in cultural oppression and needs to break this cycle.

The problem of circling has definitely prevented the power of Bengali ladies to apply English so long as it is remoted, but Khan harassed that there is additionally a language commonly practiced in Bangladesh. "Then, in addition to women, they can't go out" cause at house what they're not allowed, "he said." So, once they come right here, it gained't change. "

(LR) BRONX COMMUNITY GOVERNMENT 7 District leader, Ischia Bravo, State Secretary Jamaal Bailey, Sanjana Khan and Ayesha Akhtar, Laal Joint Enterprise, Non-Profit Bengal Ladies in Norwood, and Assemblywoman Natalia Fernandez Bangla at Bazzar Road Truthful June 23
Photograph by Síle Moloney

Programs that cope with newcomers, intermediate and advanced levels and discussion groups, and exercise and health courses shall be held on Saturdays from autumn

“It's exercise that is really well-being and healthy lifestyle management,” Khan stated. it also helps to cope with high ldl cholesterol and diabetes, both of which are vital in the group. The aim is to speak about eating habits and take a look at the small improvements and modifications that can be made to the group's food regimen.

Khan's and Akhtar's work has been influenced by different non-profit features masking the South Asian group. Laal cooperates with Malikah, a non-profit victory that gives self-defense programs to Islamic ladies after the assault by its founder Rana Abdelhamid and her hijab to the Queens neighborhood in 2010.

Additionally they see the value of Desis Ascending and Shifting (DRUM) for their group preparations . Desi is a term used by Bengalis overseas to determine his Bengalis counterparts. "That's what we really want to get," stated Khan. Referring to the presidential elections in 2020, he asks: "Can we make this community mobilize to vote?"

Norwood Information asked if a Bengal lady want to use a public office, maybe it will change traditional perceptions of girls in the group. "Oh, we're going to definitely run into the office," he stated, referring to ladies in the group. “This must change. I think that AOC has had a tremendous impact, ”stated Khan, referring to Congressman Alexandria Ocasio Cortez. “And really to be part of Lalia, we should be at the table, not just a few men with money. We want to put women in this community on the table. ”

“ Insiders, but Outsiders ”
Khan refers to the AOC Competitors for Joe Crowley, a average Democrat supported by the Bangladeshi Group at Parkchester, and seems to match it to the normal help given by the Bangladesh group leaders to the Norwood Democratic Celebration. "This must change," he stated. “Talk about LGBTQ things. There are so many events that are not spoken. ”

He added:“ We’re all minorities. I imply, the white right wing is so organized. We have now to arrange on our aspect so we will make modifications right here. “

Though the gender imbalance tells us quite a bit about Lali's work, Khan's and Akhtar's dream is finally to combine males, particularly the young males from the Bengal group, to shuffle by reworking Laal into a comprehensive family-based group.

Another challenge is language and subculture in the group. Though both Akhtar and Khan converse of Sylheti, this differs from Shudo Bangladesh, one other spoken dialect in the group, and this has typically made communication harder. They stated there are additionally particular spiritual elements that have to be understood.

“Women are much more conservative, so you know a few things that are not very small, but you have to be inside the community,” stated Khan. "Yes, we keep insiders, but outsiders."

Are they positive they may overcome these obstacles? "While we are doing this, which is very challenging, we are very Bengali and we care for our families," stated Akhtar. "We are rooted in this tradition, so I don't think we have as many problems as the real outsider."

Editor's Word: More details about Laal could be discovered at]