Inspiring Inclusion of Women in the Chars

Water, Light and Hope photo exhibition to celebrate International Women’s Day organised by Friendship in partnership with Standard Chartered Bangladesh

Friendship founder Runa Khan addressed the attendees during the opening of the International Women's Day exhibition on March 6
Friendship founder Runa Khan addressed the attendees during the opening of the exhibition on March 6. © Friendship
Friendship News Desk
March 6, 2024

Just ahead of International Women’s Day, 2024 Friendship co-arranged a photo exhibition with Standard Chartered Bangladesh, featuring photographs of women from the programmes associated with the longstanding partnership between the two. Titled “Water, Light and Hope”, the exhibition is being held at Gallery 101 in Dhaka and be open to the public through March 8. Visitors will be able to view photographs centred on the empowerment, entrepreneurship and development of marginalised women living in shifting sedimentary islands (chars) in the Jamuna and Brahmaputra rivers.

Friendship has been working in some of the most remote, climate-affected parts of the country for 22 years. Due to lack of education, and cultural factors such as child marriage and a tendency to keep girls out of school, women often face the brunt of the lack of access and infrastructure. The photos illustrate their struggles and resilience, focusing on their attainment of financial and social freedom, education, development of skills, participation in healthcare and disaster management and prevention and their self-agency at home. It will therefore hopefully inspire inclusion of women and girls, regardless of social circumstances.

Standard Chartered Bangladesh CEO Naser Ezaz Bijoy speaking at the International Women's Day event in Dhaka
Standard Chartered Bangladesh CEO Naser Ezaz Bijoy speaking at the event in Dhaka. © Friendship

Naser Ezaz Bijoy, CEO of Standard Chartered Bangladesh, reflected on the role of Standard Chartered in women’s development. “These are not just photographs. These are not just stories. These photographs document the reality of the lives of some incredible women, speaking of their courage, resilience, and dignity. These are stories of lives amidst water, light, and hope.”

“Women are driven by commitment, deep self-dignity, empathy, and compassion—herein lies our strength to achieve our goals,” says Runa Khan, founder of Friendship. “For a woman, efficacy and innovation are daily tools. I believe that women are the strongest instruments for ensuring sustainability and bringing long-term impact into a community. The world today is close to a tipping point. Enormous effort is needed to have a just society. And if we empower women, we will endow humanity with the power to succeed.” 

Members of staff from both co-organisers, Standard Chartered Bangladesh and Friendship pose for a group picture at the International Women's Day ceremony
Members of staff from both co-organisers, Standard Chartered Bangladesh and Friendship pose for a group picture at the ceremony. © Friendship

Chars are some of the most climate-vulnerable places on Earth. To alleviate hardship, Standard Chartered Bangladesh and Friendship have collaborated to help char residents to combat the key challenges they face: access to clean drinking water, adequate food supply, help in arresting soil erosion, and access to electricity. Standard Chartered’s holistic Solar Village project with Friendship is aimed at providing sustainable assistance to Ghughumari’s community members. Standard Chartered and Friendship are also implementing a holistic agriculture programme to support residents of 36 hard-to-reach char communities across the northern districts of Kurigram, Gaibandha, and Mymensingh, and in the southern districts of Shaymnagar, Sathkhira, and Patuakhali. This programme delivers sustainable agricultural technologies, training sessions, technical guidance, and market-extension assistance, along with farm mechanisation support, and financial inclusion support for over 7,000 farmers.

Interested patrons can visit the Water, Light and Hope exhibition for International Women’s Day at Gallery 101, house 12, road 101, Gulshan, Dhaka 1212 from March 6 – 8, 2024.

Spread the love

DIscover more on:

You may also like

Woven with love

Woven with love

Choosing deshi and sustainable fashion this Eid by Ayman Anika (The Daily Star)April 8, 2024 As we gear up for the upcoming Eid-ul-Fitr, there's this beautiful buzz in the air filled with anticipation and a spirit of giving. We can — with the intention of not just...