'People belonging to the hijra community want to learn'
Despite legal recognition as a third gender in 2013, the hijra community has often been neglected and misunderstood in Bangladesh.
But, in a historic and most encouraging move, Bangladesh has recently seen the establishment of its first madrasa dedicated for members of the hijra community.
More than 150 third gender people will receive religious instruction and education at the Dawatul Quran Third Gender Madrasa, built in the Lohar Bridge area of Kamrangirchar in Dhaka, paving the way towards further inclusivity and integration of their community into society.
For a community which has continued to be misunderstood for the longest time, with little to no access to education or acceptance in society, leading to a cycle of unemployment and neglect, this is welcome news.
As Abida Sultan Mitu, president of the Bangladesh Hijra Kalyan Foundation, has stated: “People belonging to the hijra community want to learn.” And it is a tragedy that they have been deprived of what is nothing short of a fundamental right for so long.
Such an initiative cannot be commended enough. As a continuously developing society eyeing middle-income status, it is imperative that the government and we, as citizens, welcome and encourage such a step, and make way for the establishment of other such institutions which cater to the needs and desires of marginalized communities such as the hijras.
We hope that this is one step among many taken in the nation which seeks to empower the hijra community and provide opportunities for them to become successful members of society.