“No matter how small you start, always dream big”, said Stephen Richards, a British author and investigative journalist.
This is the motto of Tajul Islam Lekhon's life. For those, who don't know about Lekhon, this 29-year-old man has recently gained immense popularity for his offbeat project and has credited the name 'Handsome Ferriwala Lekhon', who retails different ladies and gents wear, accessories and different luxurious items in his mobile cart called 'Dream Van'. Lekhon, the educated youngster, usually peddles in Dhanmondi, Mohammadpur and on nearby areas but he can be mostly seen around 7/A, Dhanmondi, near KFC.
A quick glance at Lekhon may help you discover the big difference between him and any ordinary street hawker. Wearing trendy attires and boots, with a high end headphone and an expensive DSLR camera around his neck, Lekhon sells out his products to the customers. The students of different universities of Dhanmondi area are his main targeted customers.
“Actually, we live in a country, where there is a so called uneasiness among the educated young generation that doing something small is a disgraceful matter”, says Lekhon, while talking about his objectives. “If we cannot change such beliefs, our problems regarding unemployment will never change”, he adds.
In 2011, during his diploma course at a polytechnic institute in Faridpur, Lekhon stepped into South Korea and worked as a migrant labourer for five years. Along with the job, he also completed a photography course there. “During my stay there, I observed that, in developed countries, people do the jobs whatever they get to do without any hesitation”, says Lekhon. “Being inspired by them, I decided to do the same after coming back to Bangladesh which turned into my dream. While naming my van, I decided to call it 'Dream Van'”.
Coming back to Bangladesh, in January, 2016, he started working on his 'Dream Van' project with an approximate amount of taka 15000. He designed a unique van and started collecting different wallets, bags, belts, sunglasses, sandals, gents and ladies T-shirts, caps, vases, cactuses and many more items for sale. Sometimes, he brings some exclusive T-shirts and vases designed and painted by him.
In this short period of time of around four months, Lekhon has received a very good response from his customers. Now, many young people come thanking him for his bold move and some of them express their wishes to be like him.
At present, one of his uncles is assisting him, as he is planning to introduce many innovative ideas for 'Dream Van'. Lekhon has a Facebook page named 'Dream Van', where he posts every update about this mobile shop. Now he is thinking about informing young, unemployed people about the ways they can make a good profit with a small amount of money.
Lekhon has a message for the unemployed people-'No job is too small'. It is not necessary to start with a van, but at least starting anything small can change one's financial position.
Breaking the social hierarchy, Lekhon wishes to establish himself as an icon among the unemployed young generation, who sits idly at home and cannot start such things fearing that people might make fun of it. Although, he has the option to go back to South Korea, he wants to work as a change maker in Bangladesh through his 'Dream Van' project.