Message from the Founder
Imagine a little girl who felt quite different from her friends around her; she was loud, she lived her life in her own terms and questioned everything. She had a difficult time relating her own thoughts and behaviour to actions and people around her. Media did not show women like her, movies failed to portray her, books lacked characters like her, and nobody talked positively about women like her. In her own life, she had struggles, achievements, success, failures, and moments filled with laughter that she struggled to share with people or relate to in a collective manner.
She grows up with a void in her life, where she constantly tries to be like others to be relatable or to stay relevant.
As she grows older, she realizes that there are many more women like her; women who do not take bullshit, women who fight back, women who ask questions, women who are ambitious, women who are kind, women who are powerful, and women who are absolutely unapologetically themselves. These women live in her house, work with her, study with her, laugh with her, cry with her, and empower her. Having conversations with these women, working with them, and seeing them live their lives have ignited a warmth in her soul which may somewhat fill the void that she grew up with.
But was it enough? Was knowing such women enough for her to be content?
The answer is no.
She realized there is a gap, a gap which gets bigger every time a woman decides to not talk about herself, when a woman is unsuccessful when she tries to find stories about other women like her, and when she does not have a space to share her stories.
Thus, Swayong happened. Where we, as a collective, dismantle social injustices through one story at a time. Story of women, women like you and me.
Message from the Co-Founder
Kazi Mitul Mamhud
During my journey of working in the development sector, I have become increasingly aware of the power of stories. I realized that our lack of collective understanding can largely be attributed to the lack of exposure into the lives of survivors and victims. Stories add a personal element to the discourse that numbers and data can hardly encapsulate.
During last year’s lockdown, as we witnessed the struggles of women in our own home, while hearing about the worsening situation of domestic violence worldwide, Swatil proposed the idea of creating a platform for people to share their real stories. We had already spent years talking about how the kind of women we know are nowhere to be seen on mainstream media. Thus, over one night of impassioned brainstorming, we created Swayong.
The first step to solving a problem is to acknowledge that there is one. Stories help us achieve just that; it gets the word out, or starts a conversation. Stories are the threads that connect us as individuals to form a community. Swayong is my way of telling the world that discrete stories have the power to catalyze collective movements. I urge and welcome everyone who cares about equity and justice to join our fight.