Bangladesh Mahila Samity (BMS) is one of the largest voluntary women development organizations having its head office at 4 Natok Soroni (Bailey Road), Dhaka-1000 with 16 branch offices all over Bangladesh. The BMS is committed to work for the cause of women and children from all social status to conquer poor health, illiteracy and poverty with a slogan of “A Better Future”.
With the support of the government of Bangladesh a new building is construced. Last ACWW area conference was held on January 2016 in that building. The building was officially opened by the Hon’ble Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on February 27, 2016. In the opening speech she showed her satisfaction regarding the work of the organization wished BMS success.
Now BMS has a new elected executive committee from October 1, 2016. Under the leadership of Mrs. Sitara Ahsanullah and Mrs. Tanua Bukth as president and general secretary respectively a committee including 27 members was elected.
New committee has formed a few more sub committees for efficient implementation of all the projects. The committees are mentioned below with all the projects under them.
- Neelima Ibrahim primary education support program
Chair: Mrs. Tasleema Chowdhury
Since its inception BMS runs two co-education primary schools at Dhaka for under-privileged children. One of such schools is in the premises of its head office at Bailey Road, while the second one is in old Dhaka at Aga Nawab Dewri, Lalbag.
The New Bailey Road Primary School has around 100 students and the Aga Nawab Dewri School around 150 students. The children are given free tiffin like milk, bread or biscuit on all school days. Free health check-ups are also undertaken in every alternate month by a doctor from the local Dhaka Community Hospital. According to the availability of fund teachers of both the schools are given training on modern teaching methodology.
- Ivy Rahman vocational training program for professional women
Chair: Mrs. Sipra Bhakta
Two mothers’ clubs are run under this project. First one constitute with the under-privileged mothers majority of whom are the mothers of the students of BMS primary school. Free non-formal education, basic healthcare, legal support, special care to prevent slum-children from picking up unhealthy habits, awareness on human trafficking, drug peddling, infectious diseases and diseases like HIV/ AIDS are focused upon in this club. The second club constituted with the women of moderate income families to make them self-reliant. The trainings provided on different income generating activities like tailoring, block and batik printing, handicraft and machine embroidery, fashion designing etc.
- Sitara Ahsanullah (SA) breast cancer awareness and detection program
Chair: Mrs. Majeda Shawkat Ali
In a national medical report of 2001 it was found 23,300 Bangladeshi women affected per year by breast cancer with a high mortality rate. The BMS identified breast cancer as a significant public health issue. In 2003 BMS started an awareness program along with medical support to detect and screen the disease at an early stage with a slogan “”Prevention is better than cure’. From 2006 to 2007, with the financial assistance of Country Women Association of Tasmania, Australia (Inc), BMS organized free medical camps to help the poor high risk patients in Dhaka. Finding very positive response to this program, from 2007 to 2009 BMS organized free camps in and outside Dhaka with a motive to combat this disease with the financial assistance of Associated Country Women of the World, UK. At present with the help of civil society members BMS regularly awareness campaign with free service of breast cancer detection at its S A Breast Cancer detection centre. This detection is done 5 days a week with the help of qualified female doctors.
Cervical Cancer awareness project:
During the Breast Cancer awareness program it was found that many women were also suffering from cervical cancer. BMS is planning to establish a fully equipped free cervical cancer detection center in the near future targeting the under privileged women.
- Legal Aid Program
Chair: Advocate Saleha Begum Shilpi
Since 1981 BMS is extending free legal aid service the victims of domestic and workplace violalence. The BMS lawyers and members try to help the victim through counseling, mediation and if necessary, court procedure. Seminars, workshops and round-table discussions are organized on various women and child right issues. Rights awareness programs through participatory talks are also carried out in high schools and colleges in Dhaka and in other districts where BMS has branches. Colorful and eye-catching posters carrying slogans on gender issues are used.
- Support Program for Autistic Children
Chair: Syeda Farjana Niaz
Members of BMS believes in the principle of inclusion of autistic children in the mainstream education system. This requires specialized trained teachers. With this aim from 2004 BMS has been annually arranging with an institute in Mumbai named Able Disabled All People Together (ADAPT) to train one teacher on a three months specialized training course. This will help a management personnel to run, plan, and train others to run community disability services within an inclusive framework. BMS is has already set up a club named “Uttoron”, where parents of autistic children could share and communicate their problems with such trained teachers and professional counselors and also interact with their peer group.
- Renu Ahmed Memorial Training Project
Chair: Mrs. Songita Ahmed
Since 2002 Bangladesh Mohila Samity has been running this educational program to enable young college/university graduates to step into a professional world. Under this program BMS offers basic and advanced computing and English Language courses to the interested graduates. Under this project nurses of National Institute of Cardiovascular Diseases (NICVD) are also provided English languge training. From 2001 to 2010 a total of 195 nurses in ten batches received the training. Along with other students who completed the trained nurses were given certificates. The project has future plans to offer another course titled “Education and Service Management” to the nurses to enable them to achieve professional nursing skill of international standard.
- Mother and Child Care Program:
Chair: Mrs. Maliha Parven
Health and Family welfare Project:
This program is focused primarily for less literate under-privileged women. BMS employs a female doctor who attends on them and advises them on family planning and reproductive health support, importance of breast feeding, nutrition and personal hygiene. Awareness discussions on sexually transmitted diseases are also arranged.
- International Relation Development Program
Chair: Mrs. Riti Ibrahim Ahsan
Maintain relationship with all the international organizations.
- Publicity, publication and publication Program
Chair: Dr. Marufi Khan
This is run by a few executive committee members who are responsible to publicize the activities of BMS to the community at large. Brochures, publicity materials on different programs of the organization are circulated and pasted at appropriate places for information and awareness purpose. This committee also documents all the activities which are kept safely in the library of BMS.
- Relief and Rehabilitation Program
Chair: Prof. Husna Akhtar
During natural disasters BMS undertakes relief operation mostly with donations from its members, their families and friends.
To partially meet the sustainability cost of these various programs/ projects BMS rents out its auditorium and seminar rooms to the different upcoming theatre groups at a reasonable cost that is effective for both parties, there by enabling the theatre artists, the play writers and the technicians to materialize their respective talents and entertain theatre-goers with a visual presentation of our socio-economic culture, national history, rich literature and art. BMS feels proud to state that many lead stage artists of today have association and roots to the BMS auditorium.
- Member Exceptession Program:
Chair: Mrs. Mina Sorfuddin
Recruit new members.