Raqib is a gender-based violence activist, social development worker, and sustainable development advocate from Bangladesh.
“I was born in a Muslim society and patriarchally dominated family. My childhood was somewhat better than the majority and I could not expect anything better. I felt that I had all that was needed in my life. I was bright, loved socializing and making new friends”, recalls Raqib as some of his first memories.
Yet this perfect image did not last for long.
"A home of love, day by day started to turn into a place of sorrow and tragedy, as my parents’ relationship became unhealthy. I had to witness violence and abuse every now and then".
The traumatizing experience of contemplating his family breaking apart set him up on a journey of personal and social transformation.
“My mother was a powerful support system, but I was also scared and frightened of abusive behaviors, I was afraid of feeling unloved and always would pray to God that I never witness any violence again”.
Raqib was aware of the hardship that his mother endured, realizing that something must be done to eradicate gender-based violence (GBV).
"My personal growth was hampered due to being in an unsafe family, and I noticed that I did not want this experience to happen to anyone else, [for someone else] to go through this lack of love and care".
Raqib knew that the challenge ahead was big and he needed more support.
“Since I mentored myself to keep my mental health in check and speak up, I decided to create a private, online platform where others could share their stories and feel valued and listened to”.
This is how the project “Na Bola Kotha” (The Unspoken Words) was born, to bring to the front the untold stories of the victims of GBV and youths born in these contexts. Raqib proudly states how his movement has "created awareness among 10000 youths so far, sharing their life story and sending the reminder that, I am not alone, and we are not alone”’.
But this is not his only area of engagement. During the [Covid-19] pandemic Raqib "stood by the side of more than 300 destitute families, especially vulnerable women to raise awareness regarding GBV pandemic and harassment. I also provided Covid-19 safety materials to over 1000 families through crowdfunding to ensure safety and reduce virus propagation".