Before an event by Bronx Narratives last August, Sanjana Khan and Ayesha Akhtar, two Bangladeshi women who have a lot in common, didn’t know that they actually live two blocks apart in Norwood. A month later they founded Laal, which is a non-profit group that supports Bengali women in Norwood.
According to the Norwood News, last month the two women spent a day with volunteers, answering questions and giving out questionnaires to local Bengali women. The idea of the survey is to help identify wants and needs for this immigrant community that is often the target of prejudice.
According to Khan and Akhtar, Bengali women face transportation problems because of language difficulties and there’s that ongoing issue of Islamophobia.
U.S. Census estimates show that foreign-born Bangladeshis cover more than 4% of the population in Bronx Community Board 7.
The advocacy appears to be successful. Laal was one of the recipients of the 2019 Neighborhood Grant that was awarded by the Citizens Committee for New York City. Also, they have partnered with Malikah, a non-profit that provides self-defense classes for Muslim women.
The two women are confident in their abilities to overcome challenges to continue to empower Bengali women in the Bronx.