Voiceless Bangladeshi..!!

Riasat Raihan writes about a youth-led street art initiative that brings communities together.



Being socially aware means that you understand how you react to different social situations, and effectively modify your interactions with other people so that you achieve the best results. As per today’s time, it has become very important to become socially aware about every situation. Situations like domestic violence, discrimination, hate crime, ragging, sexual harassments etc. Sadly, our curriculum isn’t effective enough to trigger awareness in our youngsters to stand against these situations. But, we can proudly say that things are changing. Now we can say that we are now ready to stand against these activities. Because of the Voiceless Bangladeshi, today’s youngsters are working actively against such social issues.
Voiceless Bangladesh is a project initiated by Naima Alam, lecturer, media studies and journalism department of ULAB, to teach her students public relations in a rather unique way, working with social issues. Naima Alam came up with this project during the fall semester of 2014. According to ULAB’s curriculum integration event of fall 2014, the topic students had to work upon was called ‘The Bangladeshi Public Sphere, going, going, gone’. The objective of the project is to get students to learn to develop a social awareness campaign using a real project and issues that they want to talk about, get people to continue the conversation on these issues, even after the artists are gone, and to inspire a few ‘Voiceless Bangladeshis’ to start their own conversation inspired by wall murals that tell their story. Naima believes that students can learn better by doing these things practically other than just reading. That’s why she started this innovative initiative for her public relations course especially for the students.  Each semester, students plan a social awareness campaign and the final message is shared with the audience in the form of an elaborate wall mural. In our everyday lives, we may or may not realise that the world is getting out of control. But the truth is, the world needs awareness at its every corner. We have to raise our voices at every aspect to resolve these social issues. By doing so, the VB project has created such platform where we can raise our voices and stand against social injustices by spreading some colors on the walls of the streets. VB is working with innovative ideas and creating mass awareness across the country especially in Dhaka city. Sometimes or most of the times we wonder how do we address these social issues. But thanks to the VB project that gives us a great platform to do our duties.
The ‘Voiceless Bangladeshi’ project aims to teach students how to develop a social awareness campaign on issues they want to address through elaborate wall murals in strategic locations. Mainly, students use graffiti works for a better society. This is in a sense brilliant! We really can’t think about doing things and expecting results instantly against such issues in a socio-political sense, right? Which is why, Naima Alam thought it was best to become voiceless day by day. This simple idea of her turned out to be a success. Students now can start to raise voice against issues hampering the society without saying a word. Just some colors and a wall are doing as the magic by itself! Some of their graffiti works even teach the importance of gratitude, simply by promoting the habit of extending heartfelt thanks. This indicates to a practice focusing on giving rather than receiving, which is heart melting. Be assertive about the things that are important to you and avoid insincerity at all times. The most important thing that you can learn to make yourself socially aware is to develop empathy. Empathy entails that you put yourself in another’s shoes and understand their perspective. Which is exactly the VB project does. Social awareness is generally defined in two ways. The first indicates that social awareness is the knowledge of what is socially acceptable and acting accordingly, whilst the second states that social awareness means being aware of different problems in society, and confronting them. By creating social awareness the VB project is also building our emotional intelligence. And I believe one should be emotionally attached to social cause otherwise there would be no point of being socially aware.
So, let’s take a lesson from VB project and bring communities together with paint. Let us not remain voiceless anymore. We the youths could be the main weapon against social discriminations and we should stand up with each other to stop this cause at any cost.


Riasat Raihan is a student of University of Liberal Arts.



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