In 2014, Detroit-based photographer Ali Lapetina began photographing the people of Detroit and Hamtramck’s Bengali community. During the project, she noticed that the Bengali men had far more recreational outlets than the women, and thought they needed their own space.
Women of Banglatown is that outcome. With the goal of empowering local girls and women, it’s a free community space that offers art and wellness programming, opportunities for generate income, assistance for immigrants, and a place for conversation.
The nonprofit is now looking to raise some funds, having launched a Kickstarter campaign with a $25,000 fundraising goal ending on Sept. 20.
According to the campaign, funds will go towards purchasing materials for activities like sewing and screen printing that can generate income for the women, bringing in teachers for yoga or skill-building workshops, as well as provide transportation to and from the space.
“The word is spreading throughout Hamtramck and more girls and women want to participate in Women of Banglatown,” writes Lapetina by email. “Our goal is to expand programming to offer art and wellness classes every week. Your contribution will further enrich the community and provide the opportunity for immigrant and first generation American girls and women to discover their own creative and social potentials.”
Women of Banglatown is located inside Woodward Throwbacks at 11500 Joseph Campau St., Hamtramck, MI. Visit and donate to the Kickstarter here.