Gita Rani Borman, Fall Event 2010

October 23, 2010

Breaking New Ground: Women Leaders of South Asia

Remarks delivered by Gita Rani Bormon, Volunteer Animator, The Hunger Project-Bangladesh

New York, NY

My name is Gita Rani Bormon. I have come from a village named Munshiganj, beside the Sunderban forest, the home of Royal Bengal Tiger.

I became a housewife of a joint family at an early age, like most women of Bangladesh. In family life, neglect was my fate. I did not get anything from my husband, not even a sari. I surrendered my life to fate, as my only job was to produce children and take care of the family. I was even denied of continuing my education.

Suddenly I got the opportunity to join the 62nd batch of the The Hunger Project-Bangladesh animators training course, organized by the Ramjannagar Union Parishad (UP). The training changed my life and completely shaped my way of thinking. I discovered myself in a whole new way and I discovered the enormous degree of my potential. I developed a new attitude and courage, and I began taking initiatives to change my life and the lives of others.

At first, I started poultry farming and vegetable cultivation for my own income. I selected and reserved a pond, and I established a water filtration unit.

Local influential people were taking over the land and grabbing the possessions of those families, and I had to fight very hard against them. One night they poisoned the water of our reserved pond, which made the water unusable and killed all the fish.

These powerful people told the local elders to outcast me and, as a result, I could not have contact with others in the community. But, with the support of the UP representatives, who were trained by The Hunger Project, I won the war against the local powerful people.

Now, the Mundas and the Rishis have safe water, solar panels, improved ovens, schools for their children, plantations, fish in the pond, self-help groups, handicraft production for self-employment, 12 vans for income earning, cultural teams, etc. Thus, I am very proud to stand before you to share their successes.

The thing I am most proud of is my work with pregnant women to ensure the safe birth of their children.

I want you to know that I am part of The Hunger Project's 140,000 volunteer-animators and a member of the Unleashed Women's Network. And, several thousand women like me are also members of this network.

You will be pleased to know that I received a Women of the Year Award from my community three times in a row. However, my work is far from over - it has only begun.

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to share my story with you. Thank you.