One person can make a change

Naushin Jahan Chowdhury writes about a youth led initiative – Project Be.

PROJECT BE

Let’s be honest, we live in a socially chaotic over populated city, Dhaka. Where each individual has their own conviction, perception and interpretation towards the society which makes it kind of impossible to think where to start making changes from. It’s pellucid how persistently problems are only uprising more than it’s being resolved. We sometimes ponder whether it would make a change if one would conscientiously choose to simply not leave the sink on while brushing or throw an empty coffee cup in a public bin instead of flinging it out the window. We are what we create in the society, we are what we preach, we can break a new ground and move the mountains to change course and make our society a better place to live in. If we individually don’t venture to effectuate for the better of the community then we will never gain or put a permanent positive impact in the society. If we can take out an infinitesimal time out of our daily lives to do a promising mime to help our society in any possible way then you’re blazing a trail that will be significant in a long run.

18871543_1506232289447266_1I really do believe that one person can make a change and when this change becomes remarkable and significant that is when people start noticing. That is when they accept what they see and start growing towards what you were willing to teach. I started believing in change for the better when I saw my childhood friend growing up to be so spontaneous about every little thing that would cause a stir in his amusement. When he was 13 years old, the seniors in our school, ‘boro bhai’ as we say, had gathered his group of friends to tell them how the new trend of ‘cycling’ was prodigious, the seniors had showed them their cool stunts which they found to be utterly impressive to be true. He and his friends were at the edge of their seat that day. My friend had rushed home that very day to tell his parents how badly he needed a bike and how beneficial it would be. Now, at that point in his life all he had in his mind was that he needs the bike because all the cool kids will have it and he needs to keep up with the drift. Little did the seniors know the impact they were creating in those dynamic minds. Once he got his bike, he started to realise how efficient and environmental friendly the activity was.  Every day he spent with his bike made him observe the number of social matters around him that needed to change.

When he joined college around the age of 17, he found a few more people who had strong devotion about making a difference. They wanted to take an initiative but didn’t want to just open up a volunteer organisation with only one specific cause. They felt a lot of young eager beavers were passionate about certain causes but they lacked platform for them to represent and work around causes they cared about.

Soon he and a few others had opened a non profit organisation called ‘Project Be’ which was established around late 2013. This organisation’s core purpose was to be a podium for the younger to express their minds, spill ideas of social cause and to work as a strong team in order to make the ideas a reality.

15977905_1818158161757340_8Their first project ever was ‘Project Roopkotha’ a photography competition through which the youngsters had expressed their talents. They also hosted the ‘148th Streetstore’, an international campaign to make donation of clothes to the homeless and the underprivileged children through dignified donation system. They had also held ‘Ghuri Utshob’ at Gulshan youth club which was their first public event, where they wanted to celebrate the beauty of our culture and heritage.

With time he also noticed how the condition of the Gulshan Lake should improve. He had discussed the matter with his teachers and with their help and Gulshan Society they piloted the Floating Treatment Wetlands-FTWs. The FTWs are basically rafts with aquatic plants that eat up all the organic waste from the lake. They had done lab tests where the results of water showed that they were able to reduce nitrogen and phosphorous levels by around 8 per cent in the water around our FTWs.

People in Project Be also looking into the matter of badly shaped rural schools. Taking into account, the ill condition of these schools, they took action. Starting with a facebook campaign, they collected donation in the form of fans, lights, old computers and so on. They started the distribution of the donations from Tangail, and then went to Chittagong. The work of renovation was really a worthwhile as many students from the locality joined them with much enthusiasm. They had rebuilt the schools with their bare hands. They thought, it was the beginning of a community movement in villages.

Additionally, they had created a project for the kids down the cancer shelter in Dhaka (called ASHIC Foundation). Their purpose was to was make the children forget about they’re sufferings. They would go every month with goodies and plan day long activities with them.

Over the span of our 4 years, Project Be has helped over 200 students get access to quality space for education; they’ve given out relief for over 10,000 people. These projects are still running and were designed by bright eyed and bushy tailed youngsters who spoke their mind and connected with the ideas. Today, because they raised their voices and believed that what seems impossible is possible they were able to go an extra mile. It’s a fact that all dreams will come true only if you have the courage to pursue them.

 

Naushin Jahan Chowdhury is a student of Independent University, Bangladesh.

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