University of Bradford student becomes a Global Laureate Fellow
Mowmita Basak-Mow from Bangladesh is currently studying for her MA in international development management at the Centre for International Development in the Faculty of Social and International Studies with a Global Development Scholarship from the University of Bradford.
Mowmita writes: During the second year of my undergraduate study at The Asian University for Women, I started my social welfare venture, Centre for Leadership Assistance & Promotion (CLAP) foundation, with an aim to provide leadership skills to our youth so that they can serve the minority communities in Bangladesh. Our vision is to create a more inclusive Bangladesh, where gender-based, ethnic, religious, or any other minority groups will not face discrimination, or be the victim of an unjust social system. Right from the start we received enthusiastic support from the students and staff of AUW, as nearly two-thirds of AUW students joined us for various projects and workshops. Together we worked on our signature project ‘Gender Glitch’, which aims to promote civil rights and financial independence to the transgender ‘Hijra’ communities in Bangladesh, who are ostracized from the society and deprived of many basic human rights.
Over the last four years, we had nearly 1200 volunteers across the country who are relentlessly working towards achieving our dreams.
With the goal of spreading our word onto the international stage, I applied for the Laureate Global fellowship program, which provides a year-long training and mentoring program as well as networking opportunities to young entrepreneurs who have pioneered an innovative solution to a local, national or global issue to bring forth a social change in their community. I was fortunate to be part of the 20 selected fellows from 17 countries chosen from a competitive pools of 500 applicants. The program organized by International Youth Foundation and Sylvan Laureate Foundation began by bringing us together to a one-week retreat in Lima, Peru, designed to give us transformative learning experience where we were able to connect with each other by sharing our innovation and strategies, strengths andweaknesses, overcoming obstacles, and identifying the leadership goals in our organizations and in ourselves. It was a wonderful experience to meet so many dedicated social workers
who were working from providing quality education in Nepal to revolutionizing unrestricted access to medicine through mobile technology in South Africa. Being able to share the platform with them and raise awareness about our work at an international stage was the highlight of my experience. Enriched by all the new skills and techniques I learned through the event, I am eager to go back to my venture and put these into action, which is precisely the goal of this fellowship program. I sincerely thank the Laureate Global Fellowship Program for giving this support and recognition to young entrepreneurs like us. I also must acknowledge the pivotal role AUW played to make me what I am today, and express my gratitude to the University of Bradford for strongly supporting me on this journey.
Dean of the Faculty of Social and International Studies Professor Donna Lee said: “Congratulations to Mowmita. This is fantastic news and is an example of University of Bradford’s and especially the Faculty’s emphasis on ‘building an inclusive, just, secure and sustainable society’. Well done indeed.”
Paul Jagger MBE, Chair of the Council and Chairman of the Global Development Scholarship selection panel says: “We have added pleasure in the fact that Mowmita is a University of Bradford’s Global Development Scholar. This is precisely the kind of impact that these scholarships aim to have.”
Dr Fiona Macaulay, gender and development expert in the Division of Peace Studies said: “I was absolutely delighted to hear about this through my BCID colleague Dr Anand. The issues of achieving gender equality in societies in the Global South such as in Bangladesh involve many complex challenges. Promoting an understanding of recognition and promotion of human rights of trans-gender persons through enterprise is very innovative. Though what Mowmita describes is just one small project it is important to keep trying different initiatives. Well done Mowmita.”