Bangladesh | ActionAid UK

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Bangladesh

Nurun Nahar dancing at ActionAid's Survivors Runway fashion show. Nurun Nahar is an acid attack survivor and also works for ActionAid Bangladesh

On Tuesday 10 October, ActionAid UK and ActionAid Bangladesh came together to put on a fashion show with a difference. Instead of celebrating traditional ideals of beauty, Survivors' Runway celebrated the inner beauty and strength of eight acid attack survivors, who travelled over from Bangladesh to speak out against violence against women and girls. Watch our full livestream of the show below and read on to learn more about the survivors' stories.

16-year-old UK Girlguide, Caitlin, meets 16-year-old acid attack survivor Shonali, from Bangladesh, after ActionAid's Survivors' Runway fashion show

Last night, 16-year-old Girlguide, Caitlin, met 16-year-old acid attack survivor Shonali, after ActionAid's Survivors' Runway fashion show. This special event was to stand in solidarity with survivors to end all forms of violence against women and girls. Watch the two teenagers reflect on the show and share their messages to girls in the UK for International Day of the Girl.

Members of the Acid Attack Survivors' Network set up by ActionAid Bangladesh

Acid attacks disproportionately affect women. Sonali, NurunNahar and Jasmen have all been attacked with acid – a traumatising experience leaving them with severe physical and emotional scars. They have not let their suffering silence them though. Through support from the Acid Survivors’ Network set up by ActionAid Bangladesh, they have helped one another integrate back into society and speak out.

Halimoon (left) and Jharna (right) are two young girls growing up in Bangladesh.

In the slums of Dhaka, Bangladesh, two young girls are growing up. They share the same surroundings, and the same dreams, but their lives couldn’t be more different. While one girl dresses her baby brother, the other puts on her school uniform. While one girl looks for litter on the streets to sell, the other learns English and maths. And while one girl is scared of the boys who shout at her on the street, the other plays with her friends in safety. I’d like to tell you the story of Halimoon and Jharna, and how you can transform a girl’s life through child sponsorship this Christmas. 

Munni plays in the narrow streets of the Dhaka slums where she faces daily discrimination

On the surface Munni is just like 10-year-old girls the world over – wanting to learn, play with friends, make new friends, have a safe and secure home and have dreams for the future. But Munni is not treated the same as other girls because she belongs to the Dalit community - considered the lowest people in society according to the caste system in Bangladesh. Find out how she's transformed her life with the help of ActionAid child sponsors.

Jesmin and her friends at the ActionAid safe space in Dhaka, Bangladesh

Life for children in the slums of Dhaka, Bangladesh is hard. The majority of them live in one-roomed, temporary structures made from whatever materials can be found in the area – bamboo, hessian sacks, polythene sheets and tin sheets. Families cook outside in the narrow lanes that run between their houses, and at least 40 families will share one toilet that is poorly maintained. In these cramped conditions, there isn't much space for children to learn and play in safety. That's why ActionAid's child safe spaces in Bangladesh are so important.