Shahed Kayes

Shahed Kayes was born in Dhaka, Bangladesh on 16 September 1970. He was brought up in the ancient capital of Bangladesh Sonargaon, and educated in Sonargaon, Dhaka, Chennai (South India), and Gwangju (South Korea). Kayes started writing poetry in the early nineties. He has published six volumes of poetry in Bengali and edited an anthology of Bengali love poems. He also edited the book “Who Really They Are?” (Human Rights situation in 12 Asian Countries) published in English by 'May 18 Memorial Foundation', in Gwangju, South Korea. He is also editor of the book “Remembering Scientist Maqsudul Alam” (A memoir). Kayes’s poetry is both the instrument and the outcome of his attempt to come to terms with himself. One finds in the poems the imprint of a keen mind trying to explore and communicate on a personal level feeling of loss and deprivation. Kayes is conscious in his poetry of the contradictions in society and the human struggle. Kayes is also involved with social work and human rights activities in Bangladesh. With his passion for social change, experience in cultural diversity, background in creative writing, and Human Rights activism he is dedicated to People's sovereignty, Multiculturalism, Rule of law, Democracy, and Human Rights. Several times his life was under threat, for working for the human rights of his countrymen.

River Gypsy Artists Describe the Impact of COVID-19 on Women Through Stitching!

28 May

Mayadip is a small island surrounded by one of the biggest rivers in Bangladesh, the Meghna River. Mayadip is situated in the Sonargaon jurisdiction under the Narayanganj district in Bangladesh. Most of the men on this island are fishermen, who fish in the Meghna River. 

Around 1,200 people live at Mayadip and almost half of the population are women. Most of the women work at home, mainly doing domestic labor, like cooking food and raising their children. Some women also work in the fields cultivating crops, helping their husbands and sons. Some of the women also work at in the garments industry on the mainland, Sonargaon.  

The inhabitants of Mayadip are underprivileged people. There is only one school on the island that was established by Subornogram Foundation called “Mayadip Jeleshishu Pathshala” (Mayadip School for the Fisherfolk Community Children). 

COVID-19 has affected women’s lives on Mayadip very badly. Since the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreaks in Bangladesh began in March 2020, the people of Mayadip have suffered a lot. The fishermen could not sell their fish at the marketplace at levels possible before because many people have stopped coming to the market. Besides that, the economic situation of the all classes got affected because of the COVID 19 situation, so, the fishermen’s already low income also decreased. 

Women of Mayadip bear the brunt of increased care work and as a result, many have taken an extra burden during the pandemic. Because of the COVID-19 and the lockdowns, there is a lack of access to sexual and reproductive health rights, increased violence, and decreased access to support services. Some women, mainly those who work in the garment industry, are working on every frontline, including at home. With lockdowns meaning many are at home more often, women are now looking after three demographics; children, who do not have access to childcare or schools; parents and elderly relatives, who do not have access to aged care or their normal services; as well as keeping themselves, partners, extended family and friends safe.

Women and girls also face the most violence in the family, and the pandemic has made this worse. As their husbands are staying home more of the time since their ability to work is reduced, they torture their wives. As a result, domestic violence has also increased during the COVID 19 pandemic on Mayadip.  Child marriage among girls also increased during the pandemic. Schools were closed down for almost two years and many childrens’ education was effected, as well as their mental states.

During the pandemic, the Advocacy Project (AP) is doing a great job for the inhabitants of the Mayadip island. With the support of AP, Subornogram Foundation is running three projects in the Mayadip, providing incredible support for many people on the island. These projects are The Feeding Kitchen project, Embroidery squares project, and COVID Vaccination Project. Each of these projects has help to relieve some of the stress of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Posted By Shahed Kayes

Posted May 28th, 2022

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