In the urban slums of Dhaka, there is transformative power in social projects to bridge gaps in sexual and reproductive health (SRH) services. Shuvro is a dedicated volunteer of the Improving SRHR in Dhaka project, who is raising awareness of key SRH issues and sharing information in the community. Brought up in a culture where SRH issues are rarely discussed openly, Shuvro, along with over 1,000 other project volunteers is promoting open SRH discourse. With the support of HealthBridge’s partner, SERAC, he joined other volunteers to learn about topics as varied as puberty, menstrual hygiene management, family planning, menstrual regulation (safe abortion), post-abortion care, and sexual and gender-based violence.
Empowered by his learnings, Shuvro worked with other volunteers to organize community events to raise awareness and help reduce the stigma surrounding these topics. One of his most triumphant moments arose on World Contraception Day 2022. Shuvro's candid conversation with an inquisitive rickshaw driver ignited a chain reaction, leading to a human wave of rickshaws, hawkers, and community influencers rallying together to spread SRH information. This is a testament to the transformative power of local events and community-based education, including the youth-led initiatives in the Improving SRHR in Dhaka Project. By scaling up such efforts and engaging more community members, the project aims to equip youth to help dismantle barriers and enable informed decision-making around SRH. Though challenges such as stigma and misinformation persist, Shuvro's tale demonstrates there is significant appetite in the community to improve sexual and reproductive health and rights.