Ayesha Akther Eti, a student of Jahangirnagar University and Founder of World Youth Army, formed the non-profit organisation in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. Ayesha went back to her hometown Noakhali in March, where she realised that too many people in her neighborhood were facing challenges, because they were either laid off or short on food. Ayesha was advised to start a non-profit organisation to be able to help these people in the long run. World Youth Army is a recipient of the Joy Bangla Youth Award 2020.
"I am grateful for the advice from my seniors and peers. With their help, I was able to begin my journey with World Youth Army," says Ayesha.
Their target from the start was to help the needy outside of the capital. "Dhaka may have had help from various NGOs during the pandemic, but the areas outside the city were worse off," adds Ayesha.
Due to the ongoing pandemic, only one or two volunteers of the organisation visit neighbouring households to inquire about their problems. Under the project, 'Rapid Response Relief' volunteers of the organisation distribute essential food supplies and money, based on the needs of the various families. Monetary help is provided particularly to families in need of medicine or baby food.
World Youth Army began receiving funds from the public initially, and gradually gained support from the NGO, World Vision. With 25 active volunteers, they raised awareness on Covid-19 across different regions in the country. The organisation continues to collect funds from the public.
During Eid-Ul-Fitr 2020, volunteers of World Youth Army distributed traditional food in different regions, including Noakhali, Laxmipur, Dinajpur, Khagrachari, Barishal, Narayanganj, Feni, Dhaka, Jamalpur, Kishorganj, Madaripur, Khulna, Jhenaidah, Panchgarh, Sylhet and Manikganj. They also organised a campaign, called 'Mask Up Bangladesh', during which they distributed free masks and raised awareness on the second wave of Covid-19 in different areas. So far, World Youth Army has helped more than 700 families.
Moving forward, the organisation intends to successfully help families that may have financial problems during winter, under their project 'Gift of Winter'. They also plan to reach out to women, particularly widows and single mothers, who may need financial help. "These women are pointlessly looked down upon, so we will do as much as we can to help them. We also plan to provide school supplies to children whose parents may be unable to pay for their education, under the current circumstances," concludes Ayesha.
The author is a freelancer. Write to her at firstname.lastname@example.org