FILM: Rising Silence

Making Herstory, in partnership with the Komola Collective and OpenVizor are working to produce Rising Silence: a ground-breaking docu-film highlighting the impact of rape and sexual violence in conflict upon survivors of the 1971 Bangladesh War of Independence.

Birangona 1


Birangona means “Brave Woman”. It was a term forged as a mark of respect for the 200,000 – 400,000 women and girls that were systematically raped and tortured by the opposing army of Pakistan and their local collaborators during the 1971 Bangladesh War of Independence.

But following the end of the war, these survivors were not only ignored by the international community, they were silenced by their own. Having suffered rape, torture and enforced pregnancies and abortions, many returned to their villages and homes, only to be made outcasts for the “shame” of having been raped. To this day, thousands continue to live in abject poverty, suffering isolation, ongoing abuse and mental illnesses.


Activist, Leesa Gazi

Leesa ted talkx playIn 2011, actress and playwright Leesa Gazi co-wrote and starred in the ground-breaking play, Birangona: Women of Wara show that inspired Making Herstory to join forces with the Komola Collective Theatre Group and OpenVizor to film and record the testimonies of the Birangona women.

Leesa has one vision: to ensure the stories of the Birangona women are never forgotten. By helping us make this film, you will be safeguarding the testimonies of a period of history the world seems desperate to forget.

READ Leesa’s interview about the Birangona in The Guardian.
WATCH Leesa’s TedxTalk about Rising Silence.


RS picture 2We are proud to announce that as of June 2016, filming stages 1, 2 and 3 are complete (see full details HERE).

We now urgently need to raise £35,000 to meet our post-production and distribution costs. This money includes editing (of over 96 hours of raw footage), translation services, narration, music composition, and first-to-third edits of the film in its entirety.

We are also working towards the creation of a range of long-term Legacy Initiatives to help audiences worldwide honour these amazing women, and the launch of a brand new Foundation to aid and assist the Birangona women and their families to overcome the hardships they currently face.

You can help by:

1. Donating to help us meet our funding target.
2. Raising awareness of the film by sharing this page with your friends and family.
3. Emailing us at if you would like to assist in any way.


The name of every donor (aged +18) will be automatically entered into a draw for one of the following prizes:
– Dinner with Leesa Gazi (Director), Onjali Rauf (CEO of Making Herstory) and Filiz Ozcan (Producer) in April 2016.
Free tickets to the opening night of Birangona: Women of War photography exhibition (TBC for March 2017).
Free tickets to see Birangona: Women of War theatre performance on date of your choice (upcoming shows TBC July 2016).
– A seat at the London premiere of the film Rising Silence in 2018.
– A chance to accompany Leesa Gazi and Onjali Rauf to Bangladesh to meet the Birangona women and lay a memorial plaque (2018).



If you would like further details of the project or have any queries,
please contact us at, citing “BIRANGONA” in the subject heading.