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Safe on the boat

Sabina loved going to boat school when she was younger. But she’s 17 now, and there’s no high school on the boats, so she goes to another school. But for three weeks she’s back on the river at one of Rezwan’s floating training schools for women.

‘‘I love being here. I meet friends and have fun. Nupur, who has been my best friend since junior boat school, is also doing this course. In fact we do everything together! It makes us braver and stronger, and gives us the chance to move about more freely. Like getting to high school in town. Otherwise it can be difficult for girls to do that in Bangladesh. It’s not safe for a girl to be out alone in town or in other places. Men and boys shout out horrible things, insults. You can even get kidnapped, abducted and subjected to an assault like rape.”

Marriage must be a choice

“I really wish a lot of things were different in my country. For example, child marriage needs to stop. Marriage should be a choice for everyone. And women and girls should be able to go anywhere and have the right to an education. We have to be able to express our opinions in the family, in the village and in society, and our opinions should be respected. I believe the whole of society would be better if girls’ rights were respected. Boat school and the floating training school are safe places for girls. It feels great to be here! The rest of society should be like the boat schools. Then all women and girls would be safe and secure.”


“I’m doing this course to learn to sew, because I want to be a seamstress and have my own shop in the future. Once I’ve learned a profession I’ll be able to look after myself, earn my own money and be independent. After all, my parents can’t give me money forever!”

TEXT: Andreas Lönn
Photo: Johan Bjerke

Top image: Best friends Sabina (on the right) and Nupur.


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