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#THEWOMEN - Rokeya Sakhawat Hossain

Rokeya is one of few women from our history who challenged the social injustice against women and girls. She was a firm believer in the use of education as a tool of liberation and empowerment. Rokeya and the young girls of her age were taught Arabic and Urdu but were kept away from learning Bengali and English precisely because they were spoken by non-Muslims as well. This was one way of keeping these women from being “contaminated” by the radical ideas from outside their religio - economic group. Rokeya secretly learnt Bengali and English from her brother and used her learnings in expressing herself by writing essays.

At a tender age of 16 she was married to a widower who was 30 years of age. Her husband was convinced that the education of women was the best way to cure the ills of the society, so encouraged his willing wife to write, and set aside 10,000 rupees to start a school for Muslim women. Rokeya started a school for girl education in the memory of her husband. She gave lessons in recitation from the Quran along with explanations and taught Bangla, English, Urdu, Persian, home nursing, first ad, cooking, sewing, physical exercise, music etc. She made the women understand that economic independence will lead to add meaning to your life whose roots lie in education.

Rokeya was a prolific writer who wrote on a wide range of subjects: social prejudice, women’s education, social repression of women. She wrote against the tradition of child marriage and always promoted girl education. Her writings called upon women to think about their own self and fight against the social barriers that discriminated against them since childhood.

At Samanta we believe in the idea of Education for all beyond the limitations of gender, caste, religion, geography etc. Girl child education has been our core focus area as educating a girl will help her be socially, financially and emotionally independent. The children of the forest dwellers have always been kept away from education. The children living inside the forest also deserve to dream and work on making it a reality.

When Rokeya in the era of 1880's could dare to dream and fight the social barriers with her intellect and zeal then why not our kids. We aspire to provide access to education to the children living in the forests and work on the physical and economic independence.


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