A cherished snapshot of a happy mother and a smiling grandmother is universally associated with a good childhood. In the movies, TV, or media, a broken or depressed mother’s face is hardly seen. But the reality is somewhat different. The measures communities and society take to ensure that women and girls are protected and supported are often questioned.
The United Nations Secretary-General’s UNiTE by 2030 to End Violence against Women campaign
marked the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-based Violence (25 November to 10 December 2020) at a time when COVID-19 exacerbated the conditions women operate under.
This year, the world commemorated the 25th anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, instead of celebration; however, its progress has been impeded by the COVID-19.
“This is a crisis without a quick fix that could take years to resolve unless there are concerted efforts to address its root causes”, says Manuel Fontaine, UNICEF Director of Emergency Programmes.
The coronavirus pandemic has impacted the way people value working from home, career building, and their overall approach to utilising downtime.
It has blurred out the lines between hobby, casual reading, and how time is spent away from work.
Romana Hoque had it all, a comfortable life, a happy family. Despite this, the 43-year-old second-generation immigrant from Indonesia living in the United States was depressed enough to contemplate suicide.
Eight years ago, at the age of eleven, Fuzia co-founder Riya Sinha decided to start a writing club for school girls. Stemming from this initiative a few years later Sinha, along with co-founder Shraddha Varma, decided to start the online platform for women. Their story and Fuzia's DNA are intrinsically wrapped around each other – and highlight how even in the age of feminism where women’s voices tend to be drowned out, a platform for them can become a global success.
A girl has many roles. She can be a daughter, a mother, a friend, a wife or a sister. But her first and foremost introduction is a person, a human and a voice. No matter what remote or accessible part she may belong to, her story is unique and belongs only to her own. And if a thought-provoking, positive platform echo her voice, it can achieve wonders.
“What do you think happens to kerosene when it is poured on your head?”
Surya stumbles as she speaks to IPS. “It goes down, it goes trickling down.”
When someone speaks to a burn victim, one naturally feels shocked, sad, and sympathetic. But in talking to Surya, who has the major part of her body burned, the feelings were of hope and inspiration. How is it possible to survive this trauma and still have so much love and joy to share?
A young and dynamic digital platform, named Fuzia, has attracted millions of women social media followers and 100,000 active global users with its eclectic mix of content. The platform showcases women’s talent and provides a support network.
Maliha Masud (25), was promised an affluent life and opportunities for higher education. A bright student studying Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, she wanted to complete her studies and become someone her parents would be proud of. She was promised an opportunity to get her Master’s degree from a good university in the United States but, two years later, was left battered and wounded at the doorstep of a shelter.
The World Health Organization (2019) states that every 40 seconds someone dies by suicide
. Annually, this represents over 800,000 people
, more than the number of people who die in conflict and by homicide put together. Every suicide is a tragedy that has long-lasting effects on the people left behind and most cases stem from prolonged mental health issues and abuses that are not reported.
As the COVID-19 mayhem carries on in most countries, the role of mothers, daughters, and female caregivers have been affected the most. Besides looking after the household and home schooling children, they are also working on the front lines, actively or passively caring for their respective communities.
For a Bangladeshi woman, who has worked as a sex worker since childhood, her future post-COVID-19 looks hopeless.
Shilpy, who works at Daulatdia, the largest brothel in the country, told IPS how she now also fears for the future of her two daughters.
“I come from Baglung District, a part of Dhawalagiri Zone in Nepal. My house overlooks the river. Do you know, our district is known for the suspension bridges?”, her eyes glimmer for a fraction of a second and then she breathes a heavy sigh! Her right hand is still wrapped in a scarf, while with the other she pats her 17-month-old. “If I ever get a chance I will take you to my village, we have a lot of medicinal plants.” She pauses while tears roll down as she continues our Facetime session. “I was 16 when I had my first child and I was 17 when my arm was broken by my mother-in-law.”
“What do you get from the TikTok videos? Do you prefer the platform for entertainment, passing time or for connecting with your friends? I have seen comical videos, venting sessions and some that do not make any sense what so ever and some are just rude, making fun of others.” I asked the 14-year-old k-popper teenager flipping through the pages of a manga book while he chose to respond in English coming from a Spanish speaking family and studying Mandarin as a third language.
For any riverine country, the state of the water body around big cities and conditions of major rivers hold a leadership position in the overall climate effects and how the water body is protected and preserved impacts the entire economy and living standards of that country. Bangladesh is renowned for the geomorphic features that include massive rivers flowing throughout the country. Within the border of Bangladesh lie the bottom reaches of the Himalayan Range water sources that flow into the Bay of Bengal totaling the number of rivers by a count of 700. The length of river bodies is about 24,140 km. There are predominantly four major river systems: the Brahmaputra-Jamuna, the Ganges-Padma, the Surma-Meghna, and the Chittagong Region river system. The Brahmaputra is the 22nd longest (2,850 km) and the Ganges is the 30th longest (2,510 km) river in the world. (1) The river system works as a backbone for agriculture, communication, drinking water source, energy source, fishing and as the principal arteries of commercial transportation in Bangladesh. During the annual monsoon period between June and October, the rivers flow about 140,000 cubic meters per second and during the dry period, the numbers come down to 7000 cubic meters per second.
“I soiled my pants, I could feel the wetness seeping into my waistband, my eyes started to become blurry. Only the sound of the blaring television assured me that I was still alive. I tried to stop thinking and make my mind go completely blank. Over the years I have adapted and now I can make my mind go numb. But the only nagging question ringing on my mind during the last 45 seconds was: will this stain the carpet? Should I clean myself first or should I clean the carpet first? Which one is safer? Did he notice the stain?
We are now living in a hyper communicative world where news does travel faster than lightning. Boundaries, borders, geographical and time differences have become next to obsolete in today’s speed driven world. At any point in time people, news and local occurrences can influence internationally without much local isolation. Along with the advantages of technology, communications and connections world is also facing new challenges that are proportionally evolving with advancement. One region affected today is affecting the global economy and population in frenzy of minutes, hours and days.
Every year hundreds of immigrants leave their homes and trail to a land of dream and hope where they aspire to find peace, happiness and sometimes a little bit of safety compared to what they leave behind.
To live in a home with family, to have a safe environment, food and basic human necessities, are some of the essentials that most people expect to have without giving it all much thought. When a child is born, parents or caregivers are likely to provide these things. These expectations get renewed whenever someone gets married and moves to a new home, a different neighborhood, or a city. We can hardly find someone who will say that they were not expecting happiness and safety when stepping into a new relationship, or starting a new chapter of life. But these expectations of a better life turn disastrous for millions of people when they step into another country as a dependent.