Lauren Lovelace speaks during a press conference at Jatiya Press Club in the city yesterday. On her left are Jaago Foundation founder Korvi Rakshand and Nazim Farhan Chowdhury.Photo: STAR
Volunteers for Bangladesh (VBD), a wing of Jaago Foundation, will celebrate Universal Children's Day (UCD) through a grand event named "UCD 2011" campaign across the country tomorrow.
Clad in yellow T-shirt, around 7,000 VBD volunteers, who are students of different English and Bangla medium schools, colleges, and universities, will hang about the busiest traffic points in 10 districts and sell flowers and other items to people with a view to creating awareness about the UCD.
The volunteers will present a day of respite to around 1,800 disadvantaged street children by swapping places with them. The rootless children, on the other hand, will be taken to various amusement parks in the respective districts where they would spend a carefree day, having fun rides, nutritious foods, and free health check-up.
The volunteers will also distribute brochures about UCD 2011 and Jaago Foundation to raise funds for the children. Jaago Foundation, a youth based organisation devoted to offering a positive and brighter future to the children of slums, detailed the programme at a press conference at Jatiya Press Club in the city yesterday.
“We celebrate many special days including Valentine's Day, New Year's Day but we do not celebrate Children's Day properly. What we want is let people know the day which was declared internationally to inform citizens of child's rights”, Korvi Rakshand, founder of the foundation, said.
The children, who sell flowers, popcorns and other items on 365 days at the traffic signals to earn livelihood, go starve if they do not work, he said. “Our idea is let them pass a day as children.”
Around 80 percent of the country's population is youth and they have to be provided with proper scope to work, he said.
Korvi said they launched the event in 2009 with 500 volunteers who did exactly what street children do at the traffic signals in Dhaka city while 500 street children were taken to Wonderland Amusement Park.
Last year, the day was celebrated with 1,000 children while 2,000 volunteers put themselves in the shoes of these children, he said.
He said this year around 2,700 volunteers will do the work at 20 traffic points in Dhaka city from 9:00am to 5:00pm, and the street children will be at the Wonderland.
Korvi said the foundation set up an English medium school exclusively for the underprivileged children at free of cost. The school now caters education for 600 students in three branches, he added.
Lauren Lovelace, director of American Centre, and Nazim Farhan Chowdhury, managing director of Adcomm Ltd, also spoke at the conference.
Supported by the US Embassy, the event is sponsored by Airtel, Pizza Hut, KFC, Austan, Fareast Ltd, Wonderland, Green World, Prescription Point, and TTL.