Introduction of Bangladesh Mohila Samity (BMS)
Bangladesh Mohila Samity is a voluntary development organization, which has been working for the welfare of women since the very birth of Bangladesh. After the liberation war and the emergence of Bangladesh as an independent nation in 1971, the erstwhile East Pakistan branch of ALL Pakistan Women Association (APWA) was re-named as Bangladesh Mohila Samity by the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare of the Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh through gazette notification no. SIV/C-2/72/66, dated February 28, 1972. Subsequently, on June 12, 1972, a 27-member executive committee was formed through another gazette notification, with acclaimed educationist and torchbearer of female empowerment, Dr. Neelima Ibrahim, as President. Under her guidance and the impeccable organizing capacity of Founder General Secretary, leading social activist, Mrs. Ivy Rahman, BMS started its journey with the motto, “A Better Tomorrow”.
True to its motto of creating “A Better Tomorrow” for women and children from all social strata, BMS has made significant contributions towards defeating poor health, illiteracy and poverty in Bangladesh throughout its history. The head office of BMS is located in 4 Natok Sarani (Bailey Road), Dhaka-1000. In addition, it has 16 branch offices all over Bangladesh. With the support of the Government of Bangladesh, a new building was constructed in the Samity’s own premises, through a private-public partnership, under the Ministry of Social Welfare. The building was inaugurated on February 27, 2016, by the Honorable Prime Minister, Sheikh Hasina. In her address, she appreciated the endeavors of the organization and wished BMS every success in its community based voluntary activities.
Besides working for women empowerment, BMS encourages the nourishment of cultural activities in society. BMS has always served as the hub for staging theatres, which are ingrained in Bangladesh’s culture, and even today, it continues to rent out its auditorium at a reasonable cost to encourage and promote new generations of theatre artists.
Bangladesh Mohila Samity has a number of affiliations with key international women’s organizations. Notable among these are Associated Country Women of the World (ACWW) and International Alliance of Women (IAW). Past Presidents of BMS have served several terms in the capacity of Area President of ACWW: Dr. Neelima Ibrahim from 1983 to 1989, Mrs. Ivy Rahman from 2001 to 2003 and Professor Momtaz Begum from 2013 to 2016. BMS has also organized ACWW Area Conferences in Bangladesh from time to time. The fourth and the last of these was held in January 2016 in the Samity’s new building. All the Conferences were memorable and successful events.
Amongst several objectives of BMS, the primary objective was the materialization of a pledge of the Father of the Nation, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, to empower women. No nation can progress or achieve inclusive development while ignoring any segment of its population. Hence, fostering economic independence of women and providing them with various forms of counselling and support services has been the mission of BMS since its inception.