What peace means to Upoma

Anika, also known as Upoma, is a youth activist and a Champion for Change at 'Empower Women' Project of UN Women. Here she shares her thought on peace.

Anika, also known as Upoma, is a youth activist and a Champion for Change at 'Empower Women' Project of UN Women. Here she shares her thought on peace.

Peace to me is Equality in living, Freedom in individuality and having the confidence to express myself as I am without being judged.

I am Anika, often called by my nickname Upoma. I am 21 years old studying in University of Dhaka. I like to debate, read books and inspire people. Working for girls and establishing gender equality in my community is my passion.

Being the President of my organisation EVOLUTION360 (Which focuses on gender equality and youth development), I have been working for the last year to promote SDG 5 and encourage women in our community to get empowered in different ways. I have arranged and conducted in total 5 workshops and seminars in different educational institutions of Bangladesh.

In the boys' school, I took workshop promoting the #HeForShe campaign and teaching them true meaning of "consent" and "equality" and also showed them how to treat every girl with respect. On the other hand, in the girls' school, we conducted workshops in motivating the girls to be brave, more confident in expressing themselves and showed them how they can utilise their own rights and empower themselves as well as help other girls around them to get empowered.

In Dhaka University, I took a workshop on the theme "women empowerment in Bangladesh and its future", where we showed the girls how to be self-dependent portraying the life stories of some successful women entrepreneurs in Bangladesh. We also took two more workshops in two High Schools in Manikganj, enlightening the rural students on the importance of education, career facilities, bad effects of child marriage and dowry, consequences of drugs and some other issues. The guardians were also given proper counsel about these matters after the workshop.

I am currently the country eepresentative of Global Institute for Women Empowerment (GIWE) in promoting women empowerment and special emissary of a Nigerian community "SHE LEAPS" for advocating Women rights in Bangladesh. Recently I received an award from the US Ambassador, getting nominated as one of the 10 Brave Women from Bangladesh on the category of "Youth Leadership".

To me, peace will be established when each and every citizen of my country will be treated equally irrespective of their gender, and the so-called patriarchy and social stereotypes against men and women will be removed. Hence, peace to me is equality in living, freedom in individuality and having the confidence to express myself as I am without being judged.