Has it already been a whole year since the end of our last fiscal year? It certainly flew by quickly with everything that we’ve been up to! Here are the highlights of Laal’s 2022-2023 Fiscal Year:
Hosting our first winter programs quarter
Laal hosted a full Winter Quarter for the first time where our members had the opportunity to take workshops in ESL, Wellness, Digital Literacy and Immigration Rights. Laal’s entire in-person team led this quarter collectively alongside our membership base.
One of our instructors, Rumana, our Programs Assistant & Immigration Instructor, started out as a participant in Laal’s programs and now she’s inspiring others by instructing programs herself!
Eighteen new members joined Laal this Fall/Winter and a total of 54 womxn registered to participate.
Completing our first year of the Reproductive Justice Initiative (RJI)
We continued our critical RJI program in partnership with the North Central Bronx Hospital to educate our participants on critical health literacy, nutrition, womxn’s anatomy, sexual health, consent, birth justice, family planning, pre-and post-natal care, mental health, and common health issues. This quarter we completed our third cycle, completing our first incredibly successful year of the program! Learn more about Laal’s revolutionary Reproductive Justice Initiative!
Launching Laal Raana
This year was the start of Laal Ranna, a unique and innovative cooking program created to celebrate and preserve Bengali culture and history through cuisine. The program is designed to showcase the diverse and rich culinary traditions of different districts in Bangladesh, while also providing healthy local ingredient substitutes.
Through the program, participants learn about the health benefits of using locally sourced and organic ingredients, as well as gain a deeper understanding of the cultural and historical significance of certain foods. Laal Ranna also explores the intersection between food and medicine in Bengali culture, educating participants on the Ayurvedic roots of Bengali cuisine and promoting healthy ingredients, considering common health disparities in the Bangladeshi population like high cholesterol and heart disease
Laal Ranna provides a platform for Bengali womxn to share their knowledge, expertise, and experiences related to food, cooking, and culture, fostering intergenerational learning and dialogue.
Laal Sheeth, Our Winter Fundraiser
This winter, we invited our supporters to give our participants the gift of joy! Through Laal Sheeth, our Winter Fundraiser, we raised $6,793!
These funds supported our intentional and wonderful programs and helped our participants access workshops and classes led by Bangladeshi womxn to build healthy relationships, navigate resources, and come together in a joyful community.
The launch of Laal’s Merch Line
Laal launched a web shop featuring merchandise that allows our supporters to show their love for Laal and look great doing it! All profits from sales go directly toward Laal's programming and research! We have limited edition t-shirts created for Laal Grishmo 2022 made in collaboration with Moiré, roomy screen-printed canvas tote bags, and a great selection of Laal stickers. Check out our shop today!
Our Partnership with Meals4Unity
On October 22nd Laal partnered with Meals4Unity & Mekong NYC for the Autumn fest at Serviam Hall in the Bronx to distribute vegan and halal meals to all of our communities! Over 60 members of the Bangladeshi community from Norwood attended on behalf of Laal. We were delighted to eat Bengali & Vietnamese food packed by Meals4Unity, under the same roof as our partner organization and its community members!
Our magical team retreat
From October 14 to 16th, we held our third Laal team retreat at the Swimming Hole Foundation in Woodstock, NY. This was an essential time for our team to reconnect with each other and spend time together against a backdrop of stunning autumn foliage. We conducted individual and group visioning sessions, practiced yoga and meditation, discussed the importance of community and self-care, cooked dinner together, hiked, and shared many, many laughs. We prioritized collective rest and wellness in order to return to the city rejuvenated and ready to continue the critical work we do at Laal. We are so grateful to Deb Johnson and the Swimming Hole Foundation for providing us with this unforgettable opportunity.
Our biggest programs quarter so far!
Our growth is really to show as this past spring-summer quarter we are offered 50% more ESL classes at three different levels and 75% more Yoga classes! In addition to our core programs Laal is completing its first year-long Reproductive Justice Initiative with our third and final cycle; and re-launched our Women’s Support Group, a direct action from our Manoshik Shastho, Laal’s Mental Health Initiative led by two Mental Health Professionals.
Our ESL classes support our participants to gain confidence to converse in English, navigate their daily lives in the Bronx, and speak for themselves. As part of our holistic approach to well-being our Yoga and Wellness classes helped our participants move freely with joy!
We also held workshops to help our participants understand their rights through our Immigrant Rights Workshops and help navigate an increasingly digital world, through our Digital Literacy course where participants will learn the basics of using computers, the internet, and apps. With these skills, our participants will gain crucial skills that will help open employment opportunities, become independent, and access knowledge that will push open doors for them.
Attending DC Boi Mela
Laal attended DC Boi Mela, our first outreach event in Washington, DC for the Bengali community as part of the host committee, thanks to our Board member Nasreena. The event reminded us of why Laal exists and how deeply rooted we are in our Bengali language, arts, dance, literature, poetry, and of course, our people.
Brought on four former Laal members as staff
In the true spirit of Laal’s mission to provide resources so our participants can gain independence and employment, we have hired five former participants, Rumana Sayeedm Samsun Chowdury, Sumera Kokab, and Shamina Akthar!
Receiving the ARP DV grant
Laal joined over 40 community organizations serving Sexual Assault & Domestic Violence Survivors through the ARP Support for Survivors Program, culturally-specific, community-based projects supporting survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault from Asian and Pacific Islander Communities in the United States and the Pacific.
The grant will help Laal provide DV and SA services to the Bangladeshi community where both issues are, sadly, extremely present and normalized.
We are thrilled to be part of this collaborative effort that will advance our initiatives including our Mental Health workshops and peer support groups, the Reproductive Justice Initiative Program, and Workforce Development. Notably, the program will offer comprehensive staff training and support. Recognizing the importance of the well-being of our staff, we have established a dedicated wellness fund to ensure their care, as they are the first responders in our organization.
It will create a profound impact on the lives of survivors and foster healing and resilience, ensuring that survivors receive the comprehensive support they deserve. This collective endeavor signifies our unwavering commitment to championing social change and building a safer and more inclusive future for all. Laal has achieved a significant milestone by becoming the first Bangladeshi nonprofit organization to secure federal funding.
Publishing our 2021-2022 Annual Report
Laal published its third Annual report showcasing our well-measured impact in the community, our essential programs including The Reproductive Justice Initiative, data from our groundbreaking Manoshik Shastho. Dive into the mesmerizing report in both English and Bangla!
None of what we accomplished this year would be possible without the help of our dedicated funders and followers. We extend our deepest gratitude and encourage you all to join the movement to bring support to Bengali womxn in the Bronx by becoming a recurring donor today!
Here’s to another productive and blessed year of bringing resources to our members so they can live healthy, engaged, joyful lives.