Bijaya Khisha is a peace group member from the village of Khobangporia, Bangladesh. She has bought land in her daughter’s name and is encouraging other women to do the same.
“This is my land, so it is my choice whom to give it to. Other women were inspired by me and in the future, they wish do the same for their daughters, so that we, Chakma women, are not deprived of land anymore,” she said.
Her father owned large tracts of land, but – despite her request that some of it be passed on to her and her sisters – the father transferred all the land to her brother, as it is a custom in the Chakma tribe.
Bijaya joined the peace group in her village and got a training on property law and gender. This is when she decided to use the money she had saved to buy a small plot of land.
“I thought, if I buy some land, I will to be able to give it to my daughter, and this will be an example for all community members. I think that gradually all Chakma women will be able to establish their rights over property.”
She thinks that the peace group is very important as it allows women to exchange views with others. “When we sit together, we share our own views and discuss the problems we or other women face –then we make a plan to overcome them.”
She recalls how when Anando, Welthungerhilfe’s partner, held the first dialogue with the peace group, only 15 women attended, but next time, the number of participants increased. “The second time, more than 40 men and women took part. They wanted to learn about women’s rights, empowerment, and gender,” she said.
Thanks to her work with the peace group, Bijaya has become so popular as a woman leader that she gets opportunities to attend trainings organized by other organizations.
Empowering Women for Peace and Development in South Asia is a project that contributes towards promoting civil society and strengthening women-led peace building initiative in the Chittagong Hill Tracts of Bangladesh, the North East India, and Myanmar. The EU supported project has been implemented with a view to empower community-based groups, including women’s groups at local levels.