Podcast: Intro to the Nari Jibon Project

Nari Jibon Cyber Cafe

Just three weeks ago the Nari Jibon center in Dhaka, Bangladesh was announced as one of five recipients of the first round of Rising Voices outreach grants. The grants, which provide small amounts of funding to groups and individuals who spread citizen media to communities not represented online, will in this case help Nari Jibon integrate blogging into its Bangla, English, and computer classes.

Nari Jibon was founded in Dhaka by Professor of Sociology Kathryn Ward in 2005. The project provides literacy courses and on-the-job training for young Bangladeshi women so that they can empower themselves and find jobs in sectors other than domestic labor and the garment industry. Already, the young women at Nari Jibon are using the tools of citizen media to document the world around them. They have started two blogs: in English, Bangladesh from our View and in Bangla, Our Stories. You will find a review of Bangladeshi cinema, a portrait of the life of a rickshaw driver, and, most recently, the story of a lower-middle-class girl who is now a sex worker.

Understanding, Caring, and Staying Involved

Cyber CafeLet me be frank. You cannot visit these blogs and expect the New Yorker or any other top-rate publication. This isn't media consumption, this is direct communication.

So why should we care? Why should we invest the time to understand more about their lives? to compare their lives with our own? to initiate dialogue?

I can only attempt an answer with another question: why should we care about anyone? Why do we communicate with anyone? Why do we follow the lives of celebrities and our neighbors? And why can't we choose to make young women in Dhaka our neighbors as well?

Understanding Bangladesh

At Global Voices we do an amazing job building bridges between blogging communities that tend to form around a shared region or language or even political viewpoint. But we don't always offer the background information and context so that an outsider can understand and take part in those conversations. That was the goal of this podcast: to tell the story of Bangladesh, how it gained its independence, how the lives of women have changed over the past several decades, and how blogging can play an instrumental role in empowering the voices of Bangladeshi women. We also get to know the voices of those bloggers who keep us informed about Bangladesh here on Global Voices. They are:

Mentioned links and relevant posts:

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  • […] projects are now active. Introductory posts and podcasts have been published about the projects in Bangladesh, Colombia, and Bolivia. An introductory post on the Think Build Change Salone project in Sierra […]

  • […] In addition to Rafiq, Sujon, Bipa, Taslima, and all the wonderful staff at Nari Jibon, there is someone else who really deserves much more recognition than she receives for the tremendous success of the project and that is Nari Jibon’s founder, Kathy Ward. Kathy, a professor of Sociology and Women’s Studies at Southern Illinois University, first came to Bangladesh to study “The Effects of Global Economic Restructuring on Urban Women’s Work and Income-Generating Strategies in Dhaka, Bangladesh.” (For more on this, have a listen to the introductory podcast to the Nari Jibon project.) […]

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