01Media Award Ceremony 2018 was jointly organized by Bandhu Social Welfare Society and UNAIDS on 18th February 2019 at Daily Star Centre. A total of 79 participants attended the award ceremony. Professor Dr. Mijanur Rahman, Vice Chancellor, Jagannath University was present at the occasion as Chief Guest. The occasion wasalso illumined by the presence of Farida Yasmin, General Secretary of National Press Club; Muqeed Majumdar Babu, Chairman of Prokriti O Jibon Foundation & Vice, Chairman of Impress Group/ Channel I and Dr. Saima Khan, Country Manager, UNAIDS Bangladesh.

Anisul Islam Hero, Chairperson of Bandhu Social Welfare Societychaired the event on behalf of Bandhu. Robaet Ferdous, Professor, Department of Mass Communication and Journalism, University of Dhaka moderated the session.

Robaet Ferdous moderated and opened the ceremony with national anthem which was beautifully chanted by some transgender persons. This video of national anthem was developed by Bandhu where 10 hijra participated in the campaign as part of social media campaign.

After the national anthem, Mx. Ananya Banik performed a dance for the guests. He said that Bangladesh is a nation of many Gender and many Religions, there are no nation is mono-lingual, we have to respect of all individuals.

02Mr. Anisul Islam Hero started his welcome remarks by thanking everyone for their presence at the award ceremony. He addressed that their presence and support is an immense thing for the transgender community. Then he brought up the importance of media and its positive impact on transgender people as people rely on media a lot now a day.

Before sharing the objectives of the media award, Mr. Shale Ahmed asked everyone to watch a promo of Bandhu. Afterward he mentioned that Banhu has been organizing this media programs since 2011as Bandhu thinks that if the role of media could be added then the work with transgender will be much faster. 02He also addressed the support of media colleagues that we aregetting from them since beginning. Bandhu initiated this fellowship program to create mass awareness and strong bondage amongst Community and Journalists through different media in Bangladesh, this type of approach towards them would also be supportive to accomplish the goals of SDG.He also thanked the jury board who reviewed the assignments of Media Award and finalized the process within time line.

Mx. Joya Shikder, President of ShomporkerNayashetu started with thanking everyone especially Bandhu to be a part of the program. She also expressed her gratitude towards all the reporters who have been working for the benefits of the transgender people. She requested all journalists to be more sensitive about choosing the words while writing anything about transgenderfor thecommunity. She also requested everyone not to use the word Hijra only as there are other genders who needs to be covered throughout the write up. She also hoped that TG representatives in the parliament will be visible soon, though few TG community submitted their nomination for selected seat in the parliament and one day transgender voices will reach to parliament as well.

Mx. Shishir thanked Bandhu to build her carrier and position today. She said without proper counselling and help she may not achieve what she has achieved today. She then requested all the journalists to focus more on the talents and creativity that transgender people have. She also addressed that our neighboring countries hiring transgender people for anchoring or for news presentation where Bangladesh still has no step regarding this. That will help them to get proper job and work. She ended her speech with thanking everyone.

Moderator assured everyone that changes and empowerment of transgender people is happening. It is only about time when Bangladesh will also achieve a lot in the case of employing transgender people.

03A visual presentation on Media Award was presented by Umme Farhana Zarif Kanta, Director- Policy Advocacy & Human Rights where biography of individual participants, assignment of Media Award was highlighted in the presentation. She also described the process of scoring including how the jury board was formed and selection of top three for the awardee. In her speech, she finally expressed that Award is not the fact, the fact is participation and Bandhu believes all 13 participants will work for the community in the future, the journey just begins.

Bandhu and UNAIDS arranged Crest, Certificates and Letter of appreciation for all 13 participants for their generous participation in the Media Award program. Besides, the cheque of BDT 75,000, 50,000 and 40,000 was handed over to 1st, 2nd and 3rd positions. However, every participants and winner were requested to get their certificate, award and prize from the honorable Guests. Mr. Rabbi Ivn Siddique, Crime Reporter, Jamuna TV shared his feelings to the audience after receiving the 1st award. He is committed to work more for the community in near future.

04Farida Yasmin, General Secretary of National Press Club congratulated everyone who participated in this Media Award program. She said that this initiative is for the people who are ignored in the society and also even from their family. It is necessary to generate knowledge among everyone as still our society has negative perception about the community. Though they got the 3rd gender recognition by the Govt. of Bangladesh, but the perception has not been changed. She suggested to work with NCTB to include TG issue in the textbooks. She closed her annotations with a expectation that winners will do more works beside other media colleagues.

Muqeed Majumder Babu, Chairman of Prokriti O Jibon foundation and Vice Chairman of Impression Group/Channel I congratulated all the winners and thanked Bandhu for their remarkable initiatives as what Bandhu is doing is really important and timely initiatives. He further said that Bandhu is bringing the talent and reality of transgender people to the society. He requested everyone to join such kind of programs and support as much as possible that might help the community to bring the equality.

05Dr. Saima Khan, Country Manager of UNAIDS Bangladesh started the speech with her dream of childhood. In her childhood she wanted to become a journalist because she always wanted to write about the story of people’s lives. But choosing a profession of journalism was not possible due to number of reasons! However, she said that she is feeling so proud for the journalists who participated in the media award because her childhood dreamshave been reflected through them. Thejournalists are working to empower those people who needs support from others for their better livelihood. On the last part of her remarks, she said that the number of media house has been increased in Bangladesh and lot of opportunity has been created to highlight their issues through media. We are hopeful that the change will be there!

03Professor Dr. Mijanur Rahman as chief guest said that he learnt a lot from today’s program as he had lack of information about this community. He thanked the organizers for arranging such a nice program and invitation. He said if someone thinks they are working for the transgender people generously then that is a wrong conception. Here, everyone is working for their self and that is to feel good. He also said that people who born with everything should help those who are deprived. He added that, change should be start from family and then to society. He praised Bandhu’s work and he ended his remarks saying that he will always try to support Bandhu for any purpose.

Mr. Anisul Islam Hero thanked everyone for their kind presence and valuable recommendations that will help Bandhu to design more media related programs in future. Finally, he gave a reminder to all the policy makers about SDG’s moto- ‘Leaving no one behind’. Without bringing Hijra community people on equal platform, it would not be possible to achieve the target of SDGs.