Ekhoni is a social welfare organisation founded by a group of students from Sunbeams, in 2019. Twelve graders Avita Farhanaz, Fayizah Rahman and Tashfia Bari, wanted to support underprivileged communities, and hence, decided to 'act now', leading to the name of their organisation, 'Ekhoni'.
Currently, the organisation is helping marginalised communities to cope with the pandemic. The team carried out their first project in March, right after the nationwide shutdown was imposed. "When we caught ourselves complaining about being enclosed in a bubble, there were people without any means of income, food and health security," shared Fayizah. They collaborated with Protigga Foundation to aid more than 600 rickshaw-pullers, by providing them with family food packages. Furthermore, they collected donations to help the families of over 80 daily-wage earners and security guards.
"We, as friends, have always been involved in charity work and are passionate about helping people who may not have the same privileges as us," added Tashfia. They also arranged financial aid for over 20 families in Khulna, and distributed care packages in Chattogram with the help of the organisation, Amader Desh Amader Gram. Ekhoni also helped 10 families to re-build their homes in Satkhira and Bagerhat. They also participated in the distribution drive by TransEnd, through which they provided food and hygiene commodities to around 70 members of the transgender community.
Ekhoni's team of 21 school students is also active on social media as they conduct regular campaigns to spread awareness about different issues through art, written content and videos. "We try to keep things catchy so that people take a moment to understand the severity of some of the issues," Avita shared.
Ekhoni Likhi, their virtual letter writing event, was quite well received. With the help of their school and an event page on Facebook, they collected more than 300 letters from children all over the country. "We were overwhelmed by the response," Tashfia shared. The team intended to send these letters to Save the Children, so that they could distribute them worldwide among children who have never received letters before. Children who submitted letters also received certificates.
Ekhoni also launched a series called 'Dhakar Golpo' on social media. This initiative features the life stories and struggles of individuals from different backgrounds. Previously, they conducted an interactive question and answer session on the coronavirus. "The questions were focused on mental and physical health and were answered by a panel with a psychiatrist, an internal medicine specialist and a respiratory disease specialist," concluded Avita.