7:53 pm - Saturday July 20, 2019
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Art & Culture

Bangladesh’s teenage surf girls

Johanara walks with her surfboard April 27, 2015. The Bangladeshi surf girls are a group of eight outgoing and spunky girls ranging in age from ten to thirteen†years old living and working in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh. Poverty is forcing them into an early adulthood, as they are obligated to shoulder the responsibility of earning money to help feed their families. Early each morning, rain or shine, they leave their homes and†make their way to the beach,†where they work selling jewelry and eggs until late into the night before returning home. Their families are unable survive without the girls' income. Most children who have been conscripted into the role of wage earners have little joy in their lives, but for the past year and a half they have been learning to surf and skateboard thanks to the efforts of 25-year old surfer, lifeguard, surfer, and beach worker Rashed Alam, his wife, American expat Venessa Rude, and the Coxs Bazar Lifesaving and Surf club. Surfing and skating empowers them, giving them an outlet to be children.
They lead double lives. Born into poverty in the Bangladeshi district of Cox’s Bazar, Johanara, Aisha, Shumi, Rifa, Suma, Shobe Majaraz, Mayasha and Nargis wake up early each morning to go to work hawking snacks and handcrafted jewelry on their local beach down in the southern reaches of the country, along the Bay of Bengal. They work late into the night, earning as much as they can to support their families. Shumi, 11, is the only one among this group of eight friends ranging from 10 to 13 who goes to school. She wishes to become a doctor when she grows up. But the odds are stacked against her in what, despite making significant strides in recent years to improve the position of its women [caption id="attachment_20388" align="alignleft" width="468"]

An Armenian island in Bangladesh

There have never been very large enclaves of Armenian residing in Asia or the Far East however the presence of pockets of Armenians in the region and their impact on the societies in which they lived have left their mark despite the dwindling of these communities over time. ArmeniaThe footprints of Armenians in Asia can be traced back to the seventeenth century and there is no greater symbol of the Armenian presence than the ArmenianApostolicChurch spotted in various locations in the region, still standin...