The Zonta Club of Greater Dhaka on Sunday launched a 16-day programme on the occasion of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.
The programme will sync with the globally observed ‘16 Days of Activism against Gender-based Violence’ to address the soaring cases of violence against women and child marriage.
Zonta is a service–based international organisation working to advance the status of women.
The programme kicked off with a rally titled ‘Orange the World’ at the Baridhara Park in the city in the afternoon.
Starting from Sunday, the programme will continue with events every day till December 10.
Zonta Club President Tootli Rahman and all the members wearing orange dresses gathered at the park in the afternoon, where they lit lamps (for enlightenment) while symbolically holding pens (for education) in their hands. Later, they paraded the park in a procession.
The Zonta Club president said their organisation joined hands with the United Nations to root out the social menace of child marriage. “We’ve already saved over 1,000 girls from being the victims of child marriage in Kurigram,” she said.
She further said the Zonta Club of Greater Dhaka is working closely with The Hunger Project, an international NGO.
Tootli Rahman said they will hold events on each of the 16 days to make people aware of the bad impacts of child marriage. “We’re trying to create awareness among people, as much as possible,” she said.
Dr Zerin Karim, Area Vice-president of the club, echoed its president, saying, “We’re no longer eager to hold seminars or discussions. Rather, we want to go to action to put an end to child marriage as well as violence against women.”
Zonta Club Secretary Sonya Panni said they are putting emphasis on awareness about child marriage this year as girls in Bangladesh, as well as many other countries in the region, are married off early in life which needs to be stopped. “With the pens we’re holding in our hands, we want to empower those girls and with the lit lamps, we want to enlighten them,” she added.
Tehmina Enayet, Treasurer of the Zonta Club of Greater Dhaka, expressed her solidarity with the rally, saying, “We want that all girls to get educated and have their own identity. We want to fully eradicate the menace of child marriage.”