Lamea Tanjin Tanha

2023 IVLP Impact Award Project: Embracing Diversity, Building Economic SustainabilityBangladesh

Lamea Tanjin Tanha is a 23-year-old social entrepreneur and activist, pursuing an undergraduate degree in English at University of Dhaka. Sexual, reproductive, and transgender health and rights are the areas she passionately advocates. Lamea is an Ashoka Young Changemaker, ALLY Fellow, Peace First Fellow and the Diana Award 2021 recipient. She also participated and won the DUCSU election 2019 as a Sufia Kamal Hall General Member. Believing in making a difference and taking one step at a time, she dreams of a world full of compassion, empathy and sustainability. She founded a non-profit organization called TransEnd that aims to bridge the gap between the transgender, hijra and gender-diverse community and the mainstream community through education, training, healthcare, employment and entrepreneurship. 

2023 IVLP Impact Award Project: Embracing Diversity, Building Economic Sustainability

Tanha’s project identified and promoted entrepreneurship opportunities for marginalized gender-diverse individuals in the community. The project focused on empowering individuals from the hijra, non-binary, intersex, and overall gender-diverse communities through handicrafts training and arts & crafts exhibitions, addressing key issues like social stigma, economic marginalization, and lack of opportunities for creative expression. By providing handicraft training and an opportunity to publicly showcase the artistic talents of the community, the project also fostered economic sustainability and promoted social inclusion.

The project conducted ten handicraft training sessions tailored to the needs and interests of 43 marginalized gender-diverse participants. The participants were equipped with essential skills in handicraft production, including techniques in upcycling beaded jewelry, crafting with recycled materials, and marketing strategies. At the end of the project, an arts and crafts exhibition was organized to showcase the creative talents of the participants. The event attracted 120 visitors from the community and provided a platform for participants to display their handmade products, raising awareness and appreciation for their craftsmanship. Tanha has shared that 17 individuals from the participant group have transitioned into actively pursuing professions in the arts and crafts sector as entrepreneurs because of this project.

"I never thought I could turn my passion for arts into a source of income. Thanks to this project, I now have the confidence and skills to showcase my artwork and contribute to my family's finances." - Project participant

2022 IVLP Impact Award Project: Embracing Diversity, Building Peace

“Embracing Diversity, Building Peace” was a sensitization and advocacy program based in Bangladesh that reduced hate speech towards the transgender and gender-diverse community in the digital space through campaigns, workshops and counselling. The transgender community in Bangladesh is more prone to being bullied verbally, physically, and mentally, making those in it more vulnerable than those in other local communities. This project tackled such issues with activities like baseline surveys and security analyses, workshop on digital literacy and cybersecurity, psycho-social support for the victims, online awareness campaigns and focused group discussions.

These activities were launched in 5 cities to reach more than 700 marginalized and underrepresented transgender people, hijra and gender-diverse people and sensitize at least 5,000 cis gender people on transgender rights turning them into allies.

"I grew as a result of the workshop, and I tried to apply what I learned there in my personal and social life. Other respondents shared their experience and eagerness to participate in any future project activities." - Focus group participant

IVLP Exchange Experience 

Tanha was a participant in the IVLP Project A Global Moment in Time - Reflections on Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility in 2021 and 2023, organized by the U.S. Department of State and Meridian International Center.

U.S. Communities Visited in 2023

San Francisco, CA; Washington, DC; Portland, OR

U.S. Communities Visited Virtually in 2021

Phoenix, AZ; Los Angeles, CA; San Francisco, CA; Colorado Springs, CO; Washington, DC; Orlando, FL; Chicago, IL; Boston, MA; Detroit, MI; Kalamazoo, MI; Minneapolis, MN; Cleveland, OH; Portland, OR

"During the IVLP program in US, I met a lot of like-minded people, particularly gender-diverse activists who are fighting for their rights through innovative activities and movements incorporating Arts and Entrepreneurship which had been one of my biggest inspirations behind designing this project 'Embracing Diversity, Building Economic Sustainability.'"- Lamea Tanjin Tanha

Country: Bangladesh

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