On 7 December, 2018 between 8 AM and 11 AM, children of the city got a rare opportunity to enjoy what was termed, 'Private Car free Manik Mia Avenue'.
During the event, 200 metres of the Avenue facing the iconic architecture that is the National Parliament Building, was closed off and dedicated as a recreational space for children and people from all walks of life.
Children were given sports equipments by the organisers; people of all ages were busy riding bicycles and playing games. No one required a ticket to participate in the orchestra of dreamers!
In the ongoing month, Surf Excel, a brand of Unilever Bangladesh, has set out on a partnership in the initiative, jointly launched by the public and private sectors in association with Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP). Since its inception on 10 November, 2017 the initiative had a promise to keep. And it is a promise well kept as 7 December, 2018 marked its first anniversary.
The initiative's core aim was to reduce traffic congestion, strengthen the network among city dwellers and allocate a space for children to play under the sky. In addition, Surf Excel featured a handful of activities to make the children's participation more rewarding.
Based on the pledge by Obaidul Quader, Honourable Minister of Road Transport and Bridges in keeping Manik Mia Avenue car free at least for a day, the event was organised here for the first time, although such initiatives are not unheard of in the other parts of the world.
There is no denying that we need more playgrounds and parks to ensure physical and psychological growth of children. If we can keep part of the city road network car free at least for a certain period of time, it can make up for the lack of playgrounds, at least to some extent.
Look out for continuation of this splendid event in the coming months; for highlights and more information visit www.facebook.com/SurfExcelBD