Advance Women's Leadership

Empowering Communities: Azmiri's Journey of Promoting Mental Health, Peace, and Wellbeing in Bangladesh

Wairimu Mwangi
April 3, 2024

Mahatma Gandhi once said,  ‘If we want to reach real peace in this world we should start educating children.’ Azmiri Begum is a teacher and project leader whose passion for her work emanates from a profound realization that when there is peace within oneself and at home, students flourish. Witnessing the transformative power of inner tranquility on academic performance and overall well-being inspired her to embark on a journey dedicated to mental health advocacy.

Hailing from Gazipur City, Bangladesh, where resources and awareness on mental health are scarce, she recognized an urgent need for support and education among young minds. Thus, she initiated a mental health well-being project, driven by a desire to equip students with the tools and knowledge to navigate their emotions and challenges effectively.

Azmiri's transformative initiative titled "Chittopot: The Workshop Program on Promoting Mental Health, Peace, and Wellbeing," unfolded between the months of April to August 2023. Her project addressed crucial mental health and well-being issues, empowering high school students aged 14 to 19 with essential life skills and awareness regarding mental health, peacebuilding, and overall well-being. Through a series of workshops covering topics such as Global Peace Women’s (GPW) mission and vision, mental health, healthy lifestyle practices including meditation, and the importance of peace beginning at home, she endeavored to create a supportive environment for participants to thrive.

Her journey with GPW began in 2022 as a participant in the Global Peace Women Leaders Academy (GPWLA), and since then, she has graduated and taken on the role of a project leader. She has honed essential skills such as communication, empathy, collaboration, adaptability, and strategic planning. These skills have not only elevated her leadership abilities but also empowered her to implement impactful projects like Project Chittopot, which won the GWD Grant in March 2023. Being part of the GPW Leaders Network has further nurtured her growth, providing mentorship, exposure to diverse leadership styles, and a profound understanding of the importance of teamwork and service.

Azmiri expressed gratitude for the profound impact the project had on both herself and the participants. "This was my first project to implement, and I didn’t expect this much response from participants. As the project leader, I stand humbled by the fruits that our efforts have borne within the intricate tapestry of individuals' lives," she said.

Volunteers and staff members echoed Azmiri's sentiments, emphasizing the transformative nature of their experiences. Jahid, a staff member, reflected on the rewarding nature of their work, stating, "Working as a staff member on our mental health project has been an incredibly rewarding experience. Witnessing the positive impact our program has on individuals struggling with their mental well-being is truly heartwarming."

For beneficiaries like Rufaida, the Chittopot Workshop Program provided a lifeline during challenging times. "Before I joined the mental health project, I felt really alone and confused," Rufaida shared. "But being a part of it, I found people who cared and understood me. Talking with them and learning new ways to cope made me feel stronger and more hopeful about my future."

Azmiri’s journey exemplifies the profound impact of GPW's investment in cultivating women’s peacebuilding leadership; nurturing and empowering women leaders like Azmiri to drive positive change within their communities. As she continues this journey, she is inspired to dream big and strive for a world where peace and unity prevail, knowing that we are all One Family under God.