Campus Hero Cafe: A day with the students of Monohor School
Abu Naser Rayhan
Monohor School, a rural secondary school of Rangpur is located near to a small bazaar. According to the students and some senior local people, the institution is considered as one of the most successful and prestigious schools of the area, which has been nurturing the brightest young minds for years. Consisting of a long, tin-roofed building, surrounded by two comparatively new concrete buildings, the school is surely well resourced compared to other schools of the locality.
Giving a glimpse at the objectives and methods of the ‘Campus Hero Café program, I instantly went on to randomly choose a number of 5 male students from class 9, who were eagerly waiting for us for an hour when we reached. Although exams were knocking at the door for those students, there was no sense of rush among them. They patiently participated throughout the discussion and responded proactively to my questions.
After getting introduced to the students, I started the conversation by asking about their experiences regarding puberty of adolescence period in terms of their pragmatic experiences. The student were highly responsive and showed a strong hold of knowledge in regards. However, I can’t assure that everything they said is induced from the experience of their own lives as they were in the orientation session, which was been conducted by Shibly, right before I entered the session.
Their concept about the issues of adolescence in a boy’s life was quite clear and all they know is mostly learnt from their peers, books and TV, they stated. Surprisingly, they had a sound knowledge of what happens to their female counterparts during this period was also sound. When investigated, I found out that they also maintain a very friendly and spontaneous relationship with them, which, as they claimed, is also true about the senior students of the schools. They added that sometimes the chemistry among them is way more friendly and spontaneous than them. It’s kind of a legacy of the school that the male and female students of the students always go along, they informed.
However, they seem merely informed about the whereabouts of Sexually Transmitted Diseases other than AIDS. The academic books provides information exclusively about AIDS, they claimed. They also alleged the physical education teacher along with themselves of being shy and restricting when it comes to discussion about issues related to sexuality, while they suggested that a separated lecture between male and female students can better the environment. This was latterly proved as I witnessed utter silence from the students each time a teacher is passing by the room we were in.
When asked about gender based violence, most of them demanded that it is highly infrequent, not only around the school premise rather around the whole area. The reason behind which, is the comparatively reserved nature of the society and the strong intolerance of local social and political leaders to violence like eve-teasing and rape among others, although the number of child marriage is still high in the area according to them. It is to be noted that none of the participants supported early marriage.
Most of the students of the class are moderately addicted to porn including some of the female students, they assured. The easy and cheap availability of porn around the area is alarming, although the participants claimed that watching porn doesn’t necessarily prompts them to engage in sexual violence.
I brought a conclusion to the discussion by answering their numerous questions about their sexuality and that of their female counterparts. I also recommended the Challenger Mamu app to them to fill their quests in regards.
Abu Naser Rayhan is volunteer of The Campus Hero Café program at Center for Men and Masculinities Studies