young women sit on steps one in a niquab one uncovered reading a book together.
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Tahmina and Nusrat: Students Against Violence Everywhere (SAVE)


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When Tahmina and Nusrat began studying at the University of Dhaka, they both chose to express themselves differently. Tahmina has worn a hijab since college, but she decided to take it off as a form of self-expression and freedom. Nusrat also wore a hijab since college, but after devoting more of her time and life to her religion, she chose to wear a niqab, a modest veiling for Muslim women. Both women felt isolated from certain groups because of their appearances. 

But when they joined the University of Dhaka’s chapter of the Students Against Violence Everywhere (SAVE) Youth network—a USAID-funded and IFES-sponsored program that promotes alternatives to violence and conflict—both women felt included and confident. 

“I always say to my peers that SAVE has given me so many opportunities, but SAVE has never given me one opportunity—that is choosing between wearing niqab or being active in the society,” Nusrat said. 

In Bangladesh, SAVE is implemented by the Microgovernance Research Initiative. The network currently represents over 2,000 students across fifteen universities, providing students with the skills and knowledge needed to pursue constructive civic engagement and promote alternatives to violence and conflict.