What is your story?
Sathi, 14, a student from rural Bangladesh had a dream. She wanted to see the world. But before that happened she had an exam fee to pay! Her poor mother could not afford 80 taka (< $2 AUD/USD) only. Sathi went to school and told the teacher about her inability to pay 80 taka (< $2 AUD/USD). But the teacher punished her instead.
He made her hold her ears with hands crossing in front of hundreds of students in the open green field and made her say “I am sorry. I could not pay the fee”. Poor girl could not bear this and allegedly hanged herself from a wooden beam with a piece of cloth in her room.
Sathi’s younger sister discovered her hanging from the beam.
This happened in 2016, in Bangladesh.
Inability to pay exam fees does not deserve a punishment and a humiliation to this extent. It is the humiliation the girl went through made her take that horrid decision. Did it happen instantly, on one single day? Or was it a series of events that made her vulnerable, losing her control? We do not know.
We quickly identified the culprit of low self-esteem that was robbing the future leaders of fulfilled and productive lives. We set out to take on this culprit head on! Since that time, we have been on a mission to empower girls and women in our communities and beyond. Eventually, SiTara’s Story was born in 2017 with a vision to empower women. We want to know “what is your story”?
Who is “SiTara”? Where does “SiTara” come from?
Bir Protik Taramon Bibi fought against Pakistani Army in the Liberation War of Bangladesh in 1971. More info pls.
Captain Dr. Sitara was the Commanding Officer of the hospital known as The Bangladesh Hospital, with almost 400 beds under Sector 2 in 1971. The hospital not only catered to Bengali patients and wounded freedom fighters, members of the Indian army also sought medical aid at that medical centre. Sitara Begum was born in Kolkata in 1945.
Yes, Bangladesh has only two female Bir Protiks. Captain Dr. Sitara and Taramon Bibi.
The role of women is largely ignored in the liberation war of Bangladesh, denied and misconstrued in the mainstream history. But Liberation War or any war for that matter, which has involved the entire population of the country, has been a struggle through which a united nation has asserted its aspiration for freedom. Such wars are not fought only in the battlefields, neither are they fought only with guns.
The name “SiTara’s Story” is a tiny effort to acknowledge the role of woman in not only in the freedom war of Bangladesh, also to acknowledge the struggle of all women everywhere. Si stands for Sitara Begum and Tara stands for Taramon Bibi.
There are many Sitaras out there, abused, humiliated every day. We hear so many stories of deprivation each day, which, as a team we can share and find a way out for those.
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