Having recently gained its independence in 1971, Bangladesh is a fairly new country located to the east of India in the Bay of Bengal. Currently classified as a developing country, Bangladesh is in the process of cultivating prosperity.
Although many notable figures have been born of this humble background, others still struggle to rise from these less-than-ideal circumstances and channel their talents.
As a result, much Bangladeshi talent, potential, and intellect go unnoticed.
Outside of Bangladesh, Bengali residents in other countries often find that they are automatically assumed to be Indian or lumped under the more general category of "other South Asians," causing many to feel discouraged in embracing their identity and background.
With a drive to assert Bangladeshi pride and to become a philanthropic force in the local community,
Women of Bangladeshi Heritage (WBH) was founded in April 2019 by Sabrina Mahboob, a physician based in Long Island.
"Growing up in Nigeria, I was never fully exposed to Bangladeshi culture and its beauty...I wanted to rediscover the beauty of what it means to not only be South Asian but a woman of Bangladeshi heritage. With this identity, I want to be seen as a positive force in the community, and to empower other women to embrace the beauty of their heritage in doing good."
WBH's mission and goals, stated on its Facebook page, are powerful and straightforward:
Mission: "This group's mission is to empower Bangladeshi women within local communities nationwide."
Goal: "Our goal is to embrace our hybrid Bangladeshi-American culture and evoke awareness through community service. We are dedicated to helping those in need regardless of race, religion, and cultural affiliation. We aspire to provide humanitarian services collectively."
Since the inception of the organization, the group has taken countless charitable enterprises under their belts. They have organized various donation drives to organizations such Asiyah Women's Center, ICNA Relief Transitional Home, Domestic Harmony Foundation, and Long Island Helpers to mention a few.
For their most recent endeavor, WBH donated reflective vests to Make the Road New York, which will go to cyclists to ensure their safety on the bustling streets of New York.
On September 19th, WBH held its first picnic with the goal of bringing together Bangladeshi women from different backgrounds in and around New York.
The picnic took place in Eisenhower Park on a brisk, but sunny day, as over 50 local supporters of the organization set down blankets and chairs on the grass, enjoyed potluck entrees and desserts, and participated in raffle drawings and games (such as kids coloring, Charades, volleyball, badminton, and a quiz on "How well do you know WBH?"), all while practicing COVID-19 safety precautions of course.
The picnic also served as a platform for Bangladeshi women with various talents and those who run home-based businesses to display their work and/or art and handmade creations.
Ultimately, this picnic served as an opportunity for members and supporters to bond and for a greater appreciation for the talents of Bangladeshi women to be fostered.
Pictured above are some of the CORE WBH team members of NY.
From left to right: Khalida Hossain, Nasrin Khan, Lotus Ahmed, Sabrina Mahboob, Babyaziz Ahmed, Fhamida Mohasin, and Yasmin Ahmed.
Stay tuned for more work by WBH in the future!
For information regarding donations, volunteering, and contact information, visit WBH's Facebook page!