Universal Children’s Day 2009: Education for ALL

UCD @ JAAGO Foundation

Every little child bears the seeds of a nation’s future and they are the mirror of our country.Education is the only window where a child learns to see and understand the world around them.It is that magic wand that kindles bright mind wherever it touches.It is inadvertently the best gift we could give them to make their life a worthy being for themselves and for the nation.So every child is entitled to standard of living adequate for the child’s physical, mental, spiritual, moral and social development and education can bring about those developments in them.
Unfortunately, according to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), thousands of children on the streets of Bangladesh are being denied their rights. It is estimated that there are over 600,000 street children living in Bangladesh, and 75 per cent of them live in the nation’s capital, Dhaka. And the number is increasing alarmingly.
While the whole world celebrates the Universal Children’s Day through various pragmatic events, in Bangladesh it only some grand round table talk and some mere education policy that never see the light of implementation.So inspired by the huge gap in policy and actual awareness among mass peopleKorviRakshand, founder of JAAGO foundation thought of engaging the youths of our country to address the need for a social change and bring about a campaign-out born the Volunteer for Bangladesh (VBD) who carried out a day long campaign on 18th November, 2009 on The Universal Children’s Day.500 youths in yellow t-shirt stepped on the streets to swap the places of street children of Dhaka city. In the 8 busiest signal point the yellow tide cast their spell and we paused to see a view one of its kind.The theme of the campaign was “Education for All”.KorviRakshand,said “enough of talking about rights of children, it’s time to actually do something for them.So we came up with this campaign to draw attention of people for raising awareness on education”.
The volunteers sold flowers to collect money for the children and spread the message of education to the commuters.On this day the young students for the first time put themselves in the shoe of the street children. Indeed this kind of initiative by youths is never done before anywhere else.
On the other hand the 500 disadvantaged children were taken to Wonderland. Inside Wonderland, the children got to try the different rides after they were served breakfast, then they had a talent show. Before lunch they enjoyed a magic show and afterwards, the top finalists of “KhudeGaan Raj” sang and performed and a health camp was arranged especially for the children. This was probably one of the most memorable days of their lives.
Meanwhile, the volunteers also had a swell time. This was an entirely new experience for the volunteers also. On that day the unity of our youths for a social cause, who were thought to be derailed from social awareness,surprised everyone. A student of mastermind said, “If I want toinitiate a change in society, I need to start it from myself. That’s why I am participating in this campaign. I want to be the change that I want to see”. During the campaign, the volunteers madefriendships with the most unlikely of street urchins.The fund raised during the campaign was used to furnish the JAAGO School in Rayer Bazaar.
The best part was when all those cranky middle aged folk who looked like their lives were a tedious mess would shoo the beggars away with the slight of their hand but when one of the volunteers approached and started talking to the glazed window a smile would creep up on their faces and would slowly lower their glass so that the volunteers could finish. Of course, then they’d make a contribution. Regardless of how small or how large, we know that day while going home they felt a lightness in their hearts thinking that this country may just change for the better because if it is possible to get so many yellow shirts together for this greater cause, apathy was but a step away from getting destroyed.