Opportunities are treasured. Opportunities come by at random, at their will and wish. Our task is to recognise them and use them to their fullest potential. But good opportunities really are difficult to recognise and sometimes, they are the one thing missing from life- the one that can help you make your dreams come true. At times like this, you need to build opportunities for yourself. But there was one such individual who, at the lack of opportunity, thought of others instead of himself. This year, Osama Bin Noor, founder of Youth Opportunities, was on the Forbe's List of 30 under 30 Asia, for his outstanding work with his social enterprise.
Youth Opportunities is the largest opportunities discovery platform for youths across the globe. The purpose of this platform is to provide opportunities to young people to explore and prepare themselves to face the challenges and excel in their career growth. The platform works to bridge the gap between the youth and their scope to contribute to create a better world.
“I grew up in Narsingdi, where I studied in a Madrasa. I then moved to Dhaka, in Uttara, after which I enrolled myself into Update Dental College to study dentistry.” Osama opted for dentistry at his parents will. What he really wanted to do was be an air force pilot. “I've always dreamed of being one. But what I had lacked was the opportunity and mentorship. That's pretty much what urged me to make Youth Opportunities.”
Osama was always involved in a lot of social activism. Having been a part of One Degree Initiative and Volunteer for Bangladesh, he already had a knack and a whole lot of experience in the field. Adding to that, he obtained stellar leadership skills when he joined BYLC (Bangladesh Youth Leadership Centre). After that, there was no stopping him.
When he first began thinking of Youth Opportunities (YO), no one took him seriously. “A platform for opportunities?” they snickered. In 2012, when he finally found some likeminded people, and his co-founder Makshud Manik, they set off on their mission to make magic for the youths of Bangladesh. Little did he know, this idea of his was one that would get the whole world's appreciation. “It started off only for our own locality, you know?” smiles Osama as he fondly remembers the first few days of this remarkable journey.
YO offers volunteering opportunities, fellowship opportunities, internship opportunities and basically any kind a student would need to go further into his endeavours, from anywhere in the world, to anywhere in the world.
“Youth Opportunities began growing when my friends, scattered across South Asia, wanted to share opportunities available in their countries on my platform. I was more than happy to accommodate them. It then slowly began spreading to Asean and African countries.”
There were a lot of hurdles faced in the process of making this hit big. “We were rejected from many places, for grants and other funding. From the beginning, till now, we've spent out own money on this. There are four of us, and we don't have an office. We meet here and there, make plans. We make a great team!”
YO's missions are to build social responsibility among youth, create equity among rural and urban youth through educational and career counseling, and encourage youths converting opportunities into achievements. YO aims at dissemination of information and opportunities among the youths all over the world as a part of ensuring Right to Information while creating a global platform of learning and sharing.
The kind of success YO has accomplished is nothing short of noteworthy. “My friend in Sweden was telling me about how his Swedish friend gave him my website as a reference for fellowship and internship opportunities! My friend was quite ecstatic that even in Sweden, he's hearing of Youth Opportunities,” says Osama. Another such case happened when a friend of his in the US heard of how people's lives have changed because of YO. “It really hits home, hearing all of that, you know?”
In the middle of this year, Osama will travel to the UK to receive an award from HRM Queen Elizabeth for the Queen's Young Leaders Award from Commonwealth Countries. He will be the only one receiving the award from Bangladesh.
Right now, after getting into a partnership with Internet.org, YO is available in 16 developing nations, free of data charge. In the future, Osama plans to expand his enterprise. “We have many things planned for the future. We want to make it subscription based; we want to go into the villages for which we will use print media and Bengali language. We are also working on an app, and aregoing to launch a blog soon.”
With the youth and all the youth-organisations packed onto one platform, not only can we expect a boost of accomplishments from this generation very soon, but we can already foresee a future where Osama Bin Noor is a key component in making the world a better place to live in.
Visit http://www.youthop.com/ to check out Youth Opportunities!