“Once a depressed girl called me over the phone. She informed me that she just had divorce a few days back and was almost suicidal. The girl found my number through her friends. I advised her to travel. ‘If not now, when will you live your life for your own happiness?’ I asked her. After that, she joined us and traveled with us. She is a happier and more confident person today,” this is how Marzia Mahzabin, founder of Lady Travelers Bangladesh, explained their exceptional initiative.
Marzia began this venture earlier this year on 3rd May. “One day I posted about my interest to travel with fellow women on Facebook. I was a solo traveler and thought it would be better to travel with a few more women. Around 30 to 35 women knocked me that day. The number only grew.
Eventually I made a group in Facebook ‘Lady Travelers Bangladesh.’ Within these few months the group has around 13,000 members which makes it one of the fastest growing lady traveler groups in Bangladesh,” said Marzia. She went on to say, “There are women from various backgrounds- housewives, divorcees, women whose children have grown up so they are quite free, single women, corporate women and what not.
Many corporate women have told me that they are quite eager to travel with us since they usually are deprived of these opportunities. Their companies usually have travel plans for male employees only; that’s why they hesitate to go there. Here, it’s just a super women club! So far women from all over the country, mostly from Dhaka, Sylhet, Chittagong and Jessore, have joined us.”
There have been around 10 events so far - three outside Dhaka while the others in Dhaka. “We choose various locations such as resorts or scenic areas. Since most women may not be able to track hills- we choose spots that are accessible for all. We also try to keep the budget very minimal so that everyone can afford it. Comfort is our first priority”, Marzia added.
Well, this group also ensures every security measure before planning a trip. “Being the wife of an army man, I usually receive help from administrations in terms of security. A moderator is present. We also carry first-aid boxes for any kind of emergencies during our journeys.”
A group of 11 ladies and a moderator had also traveled abroad to Shimla and they plan to go there again in January next year. Not only that, these ladies also work for good causes. Recently, they had donated Tk. 40,000 for flood victims. Marzia tries to help many other women through her cause. “Whenever we go to travel, we order food from a lady entrepreneur to help her business.” Besides, Marzia counsels many women.
“Traveling is like a therapy. While traveling with family is nice, there is such a thrill of traveling alone, meeting new faces and exploring new places.
It gives them a break from their regular cycle of life. Women in our countries have many responsibilities. They have to take care of their children, parents, husband, in-laws, and so on. Sometimes their husband may be out for work and she may feel depressed alone in her household. All these women can take the travel therapy. It’s really uplifting and the whole idea of traveling with other women also boosts your confidence level.”
If any woman is interested, they can join these highly-spirited ladies. All they have to do is go to the Facebook group and join them. A chat box will be provided to them so that they can get familiar to the rest of the lady travelers. Well, children up to 12 years of age are allowed to travel with them.