Team Positive Bangladesh, consisting of eight students, won the Peer to Peer Facebook Global Digital Challenge Spring 2019, beating 500 university campaigns all around the world. The event was held in Brussels this year.
The members of the team are Sousan Suha, Tousif Tanzim Ahmed, Samin Yasar and Mohammad Sifat from the Department of International Relations, Zulkernain Tasin from the Department of Robotics and Mechatronics Engineering, Saif Mostafiz from the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Mahdi Hasan Sarkar from the Department of Economics of University of Dhaka and Adib Reza Rongon, an A-level candidate. Besides their education, each of the members are involved in cultural and creative fields like art, music, design and others. “Our aim is to engage the youth in productive cultural activities so that they invest their energy in making positive changes, rather than going down negative paths,” explains Saif. Positive Bangladesh was initiated in 2016, after the Holy Artisan tragedy in Dhaka left the team members in complete shock.
The team faced many setbacks in their initial stages. “When we approached educational institutions with our idea, many people mocked us, but others were really welcoming and allowed us to talk to their students,” says Sifat.
Team Positive Bangladesh shares inspirational stories to highlight the benefits of social and extra-curricular activities for the youth. Other than online activities, they host face-to-face sessions with students, during which participants are encouraged to discuss different topics open-mindedly. "Our most intensive and critical session so far was with the juvenile delinquents who are truly at risk of getting involved in crimes. After they are released, they are mostly neglected in the society. It was tough to gain access to them, but we believe that we were able to instill a ray of hope in them," explains Tousif, the team leader. For conceptualising the idea for Positive Bangladesh, the team carried out thorough research, speaking to law enforcement agencies and psychologists.
“Young people are highly at risk of turning to crimes or facing identity crises and depression when they want everything in their lives to happen instantly,” says Rongon. “Their lack of knowledge about Bangladesh’s culture and roots also contributes to that. We believe that when young people are involved in activities in sports, art, music and other such fields, they become less isolated.” Team Positive Bangladesh hopes to make their platform a more professional one, with volunteers and sponsors, in the near future.