Universal Children’s Day 2013: Access to Education for ALL

UCD @ JAAGO Foundation

Our country was shaking with political explosionin 2013 and our politicians were busy trying to make sense out of their activity. When all the lime lights were hijacked (!) as if that’s all that mattered in our country at that time, the world did not stop caring for children!The 2013 Universal children’s Day came at its own pace with new appeal for the rights of the children.At thismoment JAAGO Foundation did not forget ‘the often forgotten’ underprivileged innocent children. We understood how eagerly these children awaits for this day when 8 year old slum kid sharmin came in and asked, “Aren’t you going to wear yellow t-shirt and take us to the park this year?”
Thus the political unrest could not hold back the spontaneity of our dedicated young minds and they set out with a firm call for “Access to Education for All”,toobserve Universal Children’s Day (UCD) simultaneously in seven districts across the country on the very day.Although we did not run the campaign at the field levelfor fund raising likes the usual. So the plan has been modified and decided to execute into two different Phases. One is the usual Carnival’ andthe other was Innovative Lab.
Carnival is the other main content of UCD that was celebrated at Banani Society Field, Dhaka alongside six more districts. The yellow army was all over the field to make the day unforgettable for the underprivileged children.

The country-wide Carnival accommodated almost 650 impoverished street children and 500 volunteers from all over Bangladesh. The day-long event was full of fun activities including sports, art, entertainment, food, medical checkup and a concert to add a cherry on top. Gazipur, Narayanganj, Khulna, Chittangong, Rajshahi arranged activities such as cock fight, frog jump, biscuit race, bioscope, puppet show, nagordola, and merry-go-round. All these mesmerizing amusements brought smiles on these unfortunate children who are often neglected and isolated. Some of the districts did not have amusement parks so they organized cultural programs, art competitions, and prize giving ceremony to celebrate the day with these impoverished children. In Dhaka, Mickey Mouse welcomed the kids at the gate, which left a great impression on them. This carnival was intended for the children who have forgotten their childhood in their daily fight with poverty. The kids yelled, shouted, screamed with joy wearing yellow JAAGO t-shirts and the sparks in their eyes were the expression of sheer happiness. Through this program, these children realized that they are valued and worthy of living a good life. This is where all our efforts paid off.

Also this year JAAGO Foundation came up with plans for sustainable development named as Innovative Lab. A 36 hours long mentorship program took place from November, 15 to November, 16 2013 at JAAGO Foundation Rayer Bazar, Dhaka and Chittagong.

This was an initiative that aimed to create a system at JAAGO that helped young social entrepreneurs to empowerthemselves through developing skills to face challenges of startups. The whole event started with ice breaking session, which later led to team forming, mentoring and Skype session with the judges or mentors, and finally the presentation. The Innovation Lab participants have been mentored and received feedback from the most successful, brightest and experienced entrepreneurs of Bangladesh. The qualified mentors shared their experiences and insights with the aspiring entrepreneurs and volunteers. The key discussion points of the session were problem solving, idea generation, product-development, implementing, budgeting & financing, promoting & marketing, learning from others, incorporating new technologies and best practices, and few other stimulating activities. After the event the motivated participants left with confidence and determination to face challenges of a startup. This 36 hours long ‘Innovation Lab’ was conducted by FayazTaher, SamadMiraly, Sajid Islam, RiyadHussain, Samira ZuberiHimika, Nazmul Ahmed, Zahedul Amin, Khaled Mahmood Mustafa, Bijon Islam, and Saif Kamal with the attempt of nurturing the young entrepreneurs of tomorrow by helping them to create fully shaped business models from their raw startup ideas. The participants enjoyed the Lab concept.

JAAGO Foundation appreciates the contribution and hard work of all the volunteers without whom the carnival and the innovative Lab program would not have been successful. Moreover, the support from our corporate partners (Transcom Food and Beverage Ltd, Beximco Pharmaceuticals Ltd, Elite Force and Northern Tosrifa Groups) and Media Partners (Independent News, Desh.tv, Dhaka Tribune, Radio ABC and Bdnews24.com) have helped us organizing one of the significant events of JAAGO Foundation.