Origins - Bandhu Social Welfare Society
Bandhu Social Welfare Society (BSWS) was formed in 1996 to address concerns of human rights abuse and denial of sexual health rights, and provide a rights-based approach to health and social services for the most stigmatized and vulnerable populations in Bangladesh, MSM in particular kothis/hijras and their partners. BSWS have been officially registered since 1997 started with a staff of two and a small programme in Central Dhaka was supported by the Royal Norwegian Embassy. Over the years it has emerged as a national community led organization currently providing social and health services to a broad range of ‘Sexual Minority Populations in 21 districts in Bangladesh.
A core objective of BSWS work with MSM and Hijras/TG is to advocate and provide for an environment where the respect and dignity of all Sexual Minority Populations irrespective of their specific gender and/or sexual identity, or the lack thereof, is assured, along with the creation of a supportive social, policy and legal environment to enable Sexual Minority Populations to more effectively respond to sexual health rights and basic human rights in Bangladesh.
In addition to its programme of services in Bangladesh, BSWS is a part of number of regional and International initiatives;
SAMAN: South Asia MSM and AIDS Network – focusing on technical assistance, regional advocacy and policy development, and information and skills sharing with other country partners.
South Asia LGBT Network: A 14 members organizations working on the issues around sexual minority populations in South Asia.
APCOM: Asia Pacific Coalition on Male Sexual Health – focusing on advocacy on: * Increasing investment on MSM/transgender and HIV programming * Scaling up services for MSM and transgender populations across the region * Addressing stigma, discrimination and illegality * Increasing knowledge and strategic information on MSM/TG to inform service delivery * Promoting principles of good practice
ASAP: AIDS Society of Asia and the Pacific (ASAP) an International non-governmental organization committed to reduce the transmission and impact of HIV and AIDS in Asia and the pacific region.
SAHRA: South Asia Human Rights Commission of Marginalized Sexualities and Genders (SAHRCMSG). SAHRCMSG committed to work as part of other social movements to build a collective voice, power and influence. The work of SAHRCMSG defined by issues and concerns rose by LGBTI individuals and organizations. Apart from this, BSWS is an active member of a number of National and International networks i.e. International AIDS Society (IAS), ASAP, and Asia Pacific Network of Sex Workers (APNSW), STI/AIDS network of Bangladesh, Bangladesh human rights forum and so on. BSWS service model recognized as a best practice model by UNAIDS and Amfar Foundation USA. In coordination with national AIDS/STD programme in Bangladesh it has also now on the way to formation National taskforce of HIV and Human rights for MSM and TG/Hijra population in Bangladesh.