ASF participated a webinar on gender based violence (GBV) for stakeholders in Bangladesh

ASF participated a webinar on gender based violence (GBV) for stakeholders in Bangladesh

As part of 16 Days of Activism, Acid survivor foundation (ASF) executive director (ED) and program officer (PO) legal had participated in a webinar on lessons and learnings for comprehensive, quality gender-based violence (GBV) services for stakeholders in Bangladesh. The webinar was organized by UN Women on Thursday 4 November 2021.

The purpose of the webinar was to assess the progress and challenges identified during National Dialogue 2019 in Bangladesh. The main objective is to engage NGO to ensure that conversation on public discourse on sexual violence is effectively linked to its root causes. Various NGOs from women-led and civil society organizations have participated in webinar.

A webinar was organized by ASF on Sunday 24 October 2021

A webinar was organized by ASF on Sunday 24 October 2021

On the occasion of UN day 2021, October 24, Acid Survivors Foundation (ASF) organized an in-house event over Zoom under the theme “Reaffirming our collaborative efforts to strengthen the voice and agency building of acid survivors towards leading a life with dignity in an equitable and just society”.

The purpose of the event was to create a blueprint for strategic planning based on priorities addressed by the speakers. And help set the stage for evidence-informed decision-making to advance ASF’s mission.

Speakers comprised members from four internal four actors namely the BoT including founder member, Dr. Samanta Lal Sen, National Chief Coordinator of Plastic Surgery and Burn Projects, Advocate Kamrun Nahar, Dr. Julia Ahmed, and Mr. Shafiqul Alam Kiron as BOT members; ASF staff members, survivors’ representatives, and interns.

The event was inaugurated with a few words from the Executive Director and anchored by Ms. Tahmina Islam, Coordinator-Case and Partnership Management. Following which survivor panelists addressed services most relevant to victims. Services included education support, health care, crisis shelter, and skill development training on online freelancing and artisanal handicraft work. Moreover, survivors demanded ASF’s outreach programs be strengthened so that rural survivors are made aware ASF is still active and avail its services.

In response to that, ASF Healthcare Coordinator, Hridita Haider said the visibility issue due to the financial crisis of the foundation is undergoing. But its “bio-psycho-social model is still operational albeit in a limited capacity”. Services including medical consultation (both remote and face-to-face), physiotherapy, referral services, and case management are still offered and necessary medicine couriered. In case of crisis shelter, with special permission, accommodation is also arranged at ASF’s premises on a need-by-need basis. Lastly, on behalf of ASF, Ms. Hridita requested Dr. Sen to reserve five to ten beds over Sheikh Hasina National Institute of Burn and Plastic Surgery (SHNIBPS) for survivors as the foundation works to re-establish its own.

Regarding ASF’s legal aid, Program Officer – Legal, Jyoti Barua, said they are offering remote legal consultation and plans to strengthen its referral system and raise awareness on acid violence and its punishment at the grassroots level.

Following the staff panel, interns from various universities shared their take on cost-effective strategies to work around the financial predicament. From digitizing services and raising awareness via virtual campaigns to using the power of evocative writing in case stories to get messages across were among the key points raised by the youths. Moreover, students emphasized on seeking sponsors to invest in ASF’s work and developing in-house income-generating projects to help sustain the foundation.

In the end, members of BoT shared that they will devise a strategy to implement a proper shelter home for survivors. And requested all departments to plan a 6-month key action points considering all the issues raised and recommendations given in the session.

With that, the event was concluded with a few words from Dr. Sen as a Chief Guest and the ED. “I started this foundation for my dear survivor brothers and sisters”, shared Founder Member Dr. Samanta Lal Sen, “I will always remain by your side and I am confident we will rise beyond the current situation and meet our targets”.

The Executive Director, Sarder Jahangir Hossain, chaired the event and concluded the session saying, “as we push past the existing fund crisis, I implore all stakeholders to remain united and stay true to our vision of an acid violence free Bangladesh where survivors flourish and live with dignity”.

Rejected Love Proposal Culminated in Heinous Retaliation

Rejected Love Proposal Culminated in Heinous Retaliation
Date: 20th March, 2021

Two young 18 years old garment factory workers, Reshma Akter Sufia and Swapna Akter were at the helm of an acid attack stemmed from revenge, on the eve of 20th March 2021. Revenge
for what? For refusing the ‘love’ proposal of a 19-year-old man, named Mehedi Hasan. Yes,
that is indeed the only reason these young women in Narayanganj were attacked and found
themselves in the hospital with severe burns. Reshma was burned neck down to her lower
back, and Swapna found her arms to be burnt. Further investigation found that Reshma was
his main target, as he had made a proposal to her, and her friend Swapna unfortunately
became part of the collateral damage. As Reshma rejected his proposal and turned away, she
felt the attack on her back, which consequently splashed across her friend’s elbows too.
Reshma’s only ‘crime’ was that she exercised her right of free will and refused the man’s
proposal. Mehedi, whose masculinity was so threatened at the mere sight of a girl rejecting
his advances, resorted to the ultimate form of torture and violence upon the woman. His
fragile masculinity could not handle any rejection from a woman, and apparently the only way
he knew to retaliate was to impair her physically.

The attack took place in Shashongaon area, near the Fatulla police station. The accused, Mehedi Hasan, also lived in a rented house in the area. Upon getting further details from the
police, it was learned that Reshma was a neighbour with her attacker, Mehedi as she lived
next door to him in Fulgach village in the Lalmonirhat Sadar Upazila.
Reshma’s father Solaiman Ali became the plaintiff and lodged a complaint in the nearby
Fatullah model Police Thana. According to the investigation officer Safiqul Islam, Mehedi
Hasan was arrested on March 22, 2021.

Reshma had to quit her job as a garment worker and moved back to her family home in Lalmonirhat, because she could not otherwise bear the treatment expenses. She is currently
being treated for her burns in a local government hospital, however her family said they could
not financially afford to appear in court and fight a case against her attacker.
ASF got whiff of this incident from the local hospital’s acid monitoring unit and have since
spoken to Reshma’s father to confirm and learn more details about the attack. ASF have
assured the family of the survivor that any medical and legal assistance will be provided to
them to help Reshma overcome this trauma and injustice.

This is one of many stories that take place in many places and throughout the year. May we join them in creating a healthy environment for women and girls?

ASF organized a one day in-house workshop on “TEAM BUILDING”

ASF organized a one day in-house workshop on “TEAM BUILDING”

ASF organized a one day in-house workshop on “TEAM BUILDING” held on 21st november,2020. Mr. Alison Subrata Baroi, Joint Director of DSK, is the facilitator of the workshop. The workshop mainly focused on employee motivation, positive attitudes or practices in work place and also emphasised on capacity building and team work during crisis situation.
It was a wonderful workshop. Thanks to Mr Alison Subrata Baroi for motivating us to work more enthusiastically and positively.