Holding fast to the belief that storytellers and artists are catalysts of change, HerStory Foundation is working to challenge social norms and prejudices, and propose narratives about unity, inclusion and justice for children and adults.
In March of 2017, we formed as a small team to produce the HerStory Trailblazers exhibition at EMK Center for International Women’s Day. The exhibition brought together 20 female artists to create 20 portraits of Bangladeshi female trailblazers. The response and feedback to the educational exhibition was overwhelming, and brought to light the lack of content on female history. Through this exhibition, we identified a cultural blind spot and the demand for gender equality in history and storytelling. This was the beginning of our journey as content creators.
Following the success of the exhibition, we were commissioned to create an illustrated children's book based on the biographies of 20 Bangladeshi Supergirls. In November of 2017 we launched HerStories: The Adventures of Supergirls at the Dhaka Lit Fest. The illustrated children’s book included 21 stories of exceptional women of Bengal and present-day Bangladesh (from the astrologer and poet Khana to weightlifter Mabia Akhter).
The book was created by a team of over 30 researchers, illustrators, designers, writers, translators and editors. It is available in English and in Bangla and has gone through 3 print runs. We produced a short video about the book to communicate its objectives and spirit.
In 2018, HerStory Publications commissioned HerStory Foundation to produce the second volume of HerStories: The Adventures of Supergirls. The book is in its second reprint and will be available in Bengali from September. Both volumes of the HerStories series are distributed throughout Dhaka and Chittagong and available online through HerStory Foundation, as well as leading book retailer Rokomari. The books are of a very high-quality, hard-cover and printed with child-friendly, non-toxic ink to comply with regulations for child publications.
A book only comes to life when read, and to ensure that the HerStories really inspire girls and boys, we organize Incredible Read-Alouds in partner schools. During the reading sessions we discuss key topics in the stories (self-reliance, social responsibility, self-respect, community, equality, environment etc.) and help children envision alternative futures.
In 2018, with the support of the Edward Kennedy Center for Public Service and The Arts, we developed a teaching tool to compliment the first volume of HerStories. This modular teaching pack can be used in over-crowded, under-staffed classrooms that have few resources to teach students the fundamental lessons of the book, thus creating gender neutral classrooms.
WHAT WE DO
HerStory Foundation is a not-for-profit organisation that creates innovative content for development, with a focus on gender equality and youth empowerment. We use storytelling, illustration, design, and dialogue to instill empowering and inspiring messages in children, youth and adults. HerStory Foundation’s sister concern HerStory Publications publishes books for children and young adults developed by HerStory Foundation. The books are then brought to life through events and Read-Alouds organized by the Foundation.
Taramon, an online media platform, is HerStory Foundation’s latest venture and aims to serve the information needs of urban women. The content is targeted towards urban women aged 18 - 45 and is focused on well-being, relationships, lifestyle and social issues concerning women that are relevant to the context of Bangladesh.
In addition to content development for the general public, we also work with teachers to launch our original content in classrooms, through specially designed teaching materials and Read-Alouds.
In September 2019 we launched the HerStory Reading Fellowship in partnership with the Women and Gender Studies Department of Dhaka University and IUB. This is a pilot project which will impact 10 underserved communities in Dhaka and reach approximately 500 people. For the second cohort in 2020, we aim to double that number.
The online media portal TARAMON is an initiative of HerStory Foundation founded in 2019. The platform is a safe space for women to find and share information on well-being, relationships, lifestyle, as well as feminist thought.
In September of 2019, we launched the HerStory Reading Fellowship. Open to university students, the one-year program will train Fellows to read HerStories to students of class VI and guide them through discussions of key topics (gender equality, life plans, social responsibility, civil rights etc.). The Fellows will have monthly school visits for Incredible Read-Alouds to practice their skills.
We are currently working on our newest project, a children’s book on rights, which is underway, due to be released at the Dhaka Lit Fest in November 2019 and the Boi Mela, February 2020.
For the Boi Mela, 2020 we are producing a low-cost HerStories book pack, so the stories will be accessible for the general public. Each booklet will contain 3-4 HerStories and an introduction dedicated to a common topic of the stories (eg. ambition).
HerStories: Adventures of Supergirls, Volume 1 (English)
Published: November 2017
Print-run: 1250 copies
HerStories: Adventures of Supergirls, Volume 1 (Bangla)
Published: May 2018
Print-run: 1750 copies
HerStories: Adventures of Supergirls, Volume 2 (English)
Published: November 2018
Print-run: 750 copies
EMK Small Grant Award 2018
HerStory Foundation was awarded the EMK Small Grant Award for Public Service and the Arts in 2019. Every year, the grant is awarded to individuals or groups who take an active part in volunteerism, women’s empowerment, education, community development, youth engagement, entrepreneurship and arts related projects in Bangladesh. Our HerStories Unit Plan was awarded the grant, and we produced the complementary teaching tool for HerStories, along with an animation. We also conducted 2 day-long training sessions for 17 teachers from Bangla, English, and Madrasa medium schools.
DFK International Charity Grant For International Women’s Day 2019
We are the recipients for the charity grant organized by international Independent Global Accounting Association, DFK.
Dhaka American Women’s Club (DAWC) Charity Grant For International Women’s Day 2019
We are the recipients for the charity grant organized by Dhaka American Women’s Club (DAWC).
a society where women’s choices are not limited and decisions are not constrained by gender.
is to empower rural and urban women and girls of diverse socio-economic backgrounds in Bangladesh through the arts, storytelling and capacity building.
that team work makes the dream work. That behind every great woman, is another great woman. That art is essential and creativity is a solution. That collective stories have the power to change societies.