Ten Bangladeshi youths were named in the Forbes 30 under 30 Asia list 2021, recently. Ahmed Imtiaz Jami has been named in the list, under the category of Social Impact. Jami, a graduate of Ahsanullah University of Science and Technology, established OBHIZATRIK Foundation in 2010, to work with underprivileged children. So far, his foundation, with the help of 3,500 volunteers, has supported 1 million people on poverty elimination, education, health and nutrition, and human rights issues. Star Youth, The Daily Star, caught up with him to learn about his aspirations, and more.
Congratulations. How do you feel about making it to the Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia List?
Thank You. My family and I are over the moon. When I started OBHIZATRIK Foundation, my parents were worried about how it will affect my academic performance, but today, they are really proud of me. I have always dreamt of seeing myself among Forbes honourees.
What was your inspiration behind starting OBHIZATRIK Foundation?
Through OBHIZATRIK Foundation, I wanted to work to alleviate poverty and child labour. It traces back to the day I saw a seven-year old boy selling newspaper, and it made me think about the lives of these children. I discussed this idea with my friends and we came up with the initiative. Initially, arranging donors to fund our programmes was a major challenge. Being students, we had to use our pocket money and conduct several small events to raise funds. Over time, we started receiving support from people and began recruiting volunteers.
What are some of the greatest accomplishments of this foundation?
Over the past decade, we have established three schools in Mirpur, Rayerbazar and Patuakhali respectively, where we provide institutional knowledge to over 500 underprivileged children. Our project, Shokkhom, uses zakat funds for social development as we design income generating models for underprivileged families. Through this, we have supported 550 families by providing them with entrepreneurial resources and skills training.
Has OBHIZATRIK Foundation introduced any new project to combat the pandemic?
We started a boat ambulance service in Patuakhali, for Covid-19 patients. Currently, we are distributing 200 food packets every day. We have also introduced a tele-education model, where teachers call up students to provide them with lessons, and the assignments are delivered to students' homes.
What are your future plans?
I want to expand OBHIZATRIK Foundation and reach all 64 districts of the country. We will also establish more schools to facilitate the education of underprivileged children.
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