A thought becomes an idea
If you haven't already gotten a buzz of it, this year's Telenor Youth Forum 2015 had its Grand Finale two weeks back at Pan Pacific Sonargaon Dhaka. The top three semi-finalists were chosen in a glorious ceremony, which had guests starting from the Ambassador of Norway to founders of various startups. One of them will soon represent Bangladesh in the three-day conference to be held in Oslo, Norway. This year's theme was 'Knowledge for All'.
Who are these potential representatives, and what are the ideas that set them apart?
Sadia Afrin Binte Azad and The Left Side Classroom
While working for Teach for Bangladesh, Sadia observed the problems that many of the underprivileged children of our country face. For families challenged to provide a proper meal on their tables at least once a day, buying school stationery is a luxury. These underlying reasons create the pool of problems that eventually force children to drop out of schools.
This is what drove Sadia, along with a co-fellow of hers, to initiate their project. The Left Side Classroom allows the more privileged and generous members of the society to connect to these children and donate stationery. The project has managed to raise enough awareness. She is currently working on the launch of the website by the end of 2015. TYF 2015 has helped her expose her initiative on a global scale, as well as connect to young minds trying to solve various problems in our society in unique ways.
Sadia is currently getting an MBA from the University of Dhaka and an M.Ed in Educational Leadership, Planning and Management from the Institute of Educational Development at BRAC University. She hopes to keep working in the educational field, particularly in the curriculum development and policy making sector.
Abreshmee Adeeba Haque and MuthoSchool
Most students in our country lose interest in studies because of the poor quality photocopied books, shortage of quality teachers and the emphasis on memorising over practically applying yourself. These lead to shortcomings when pursuing higher education, as well as a lack of confidence and work-passion.
A free online platform to attend to the individual needs of students by means of learning resources such as e-books, video tutorials and fun DIY experiment instructions, MuthoSchool aims to revolutionise the meaning of knowledge from being merely a means of earning bread to something that can be enjoyed and applied. Students can connect with volunteer teachers to clear their confusions, practice from exercises with explanations and earn points by completing study tasks. This will encourage studying by rewarding the effort of the students as well as making learning an interactive, lively and productive experience.
A third year student of IBA, University of Dhaka, Abreshmee hopes to make a positive difference in the society. She claims to be a big time Potterhead and a believer of the quote "You are as responsible for your successes as you are for your failures".
Sabab Rahman and The Glassroom
Racism is an issue that is ingrained during the formative years of life, which is why it is crucial and most effective to target children if we want to make a dent on racism. This is where The Glassroom–a cross-cultural program incorporated in the global school coursework–comes in. One-on-one video-conference sessions with students from different parts of the world will help students learn and appreciate cultural diversity. Discussions about their rituals, festivals, traditions, culture and way of life will help eliminate common misconceptions, ethnocentrism and stereotypical behaviours.
The answer to racism is to change the way we see people and the world around us, which is why the motto of The Glassroom is "Change the perception, change the world".
Sabab is a first year student of IBA, University of Dhaka. He genuinely fears public speaking, which is one of the reasons why he decided to participate in TYF. Sabab aspires to become an entrepreneur and believes that optimism and hard work can do miracles.
The writer is a freshman at the Institute of Business Administration, University of Dhaka