YES alumni in Bangladesh pooled their time, talent, and resources to carry out 15 projects for the 15th Anniversary of the YES program -- in one month! This also happened to be during the month of April when Global Youth Service Day is celebrated. Read on to learn about the 15 impactful projects that YES alumni carried out around the country that reached a total of 671 community members!
1) YES alumni in Bangladesh held the first of many sessions for the workshop “Code for Freedom.” The workshop aims to teach women between the ages of 15 and 22 basic computer operating skills and English, with the ultimate goal of preparing the young women for the workforce. The first session laid the groundwork and began introducing the young women to computers. YES alumni also invited a social worker to do a joint presentation on the importance of technological advancement, gender roles, and equality. Finally, the parents of the participants attended a session where they discussed how to support their daughters as they pursue opportunities in the workforce. Alumni involved in this project were Mustahsin Islam (YES’08), Sumaia Sajjad (YES’12), Maryan Karmoker (YES’13), Targiv Sanan Roham (YES’16), and Mehzabin Nahar Chowdhury (YES’17).
2) Three YES alumni, Tahseen Lubaba (YES’14), Sadia Abdullah (YES’15), and Tasawar Drupak (YES’16), organized a Reproductive Health and Awareness Workshop in a slum in Dhaka. Health and sanitation in Bangladesh slums have continued to worsen, and assessments have identified reproductive health as one of the biggest issues in slums. The YES alumni invited six medical students and doctors from a local hospital to lead two sessions. The first session focused on reproductive physiology, contraceptives, and family planning. The second session focused on menstrual hygiene and healthy relationships. Medical advice was offered to all the women.
3) The girls in the Roufabad Orphanage grow up in an environment that can constrain how the young girls visualize their futures. To tackle this problem, YES alumni Mehzabin Nahar Chowdhury (YES ‘17), Maryan Karmoker (YES '13), and Mohammed Mustahsin Islam (YES ‘07) led an interactive session with 40 girls that underlined the power of dreaming and goal setting. YES alumni wanted to emphasize that identifying goals and dreams and developing a plan can lead to success. The alumni designed activities so the girls could talk about their aspirations and goals, and they even designed vision boards.
4) Five YES alumni organized a Tech Solutions to Socio-Economic Problems Workshop for 45 students from Dinajpur Collectorate School and College in rural Bangladesh. The goal of the workshop was to identify their leadership skills and bolster them through technology. YES alumni encouraged students to think about the leader inside of each of them and how to take those leadership skills and make a change in their society. Students who attended the workshop learned how to deconstruct societal problems, and then use digital storytelling to spread the message. YES alumni involved in this project are Mustahsin Islam (YES ‘08), Abdullah Al-Faruque Ratal (YES ‘10), Gulshan Jubaed Prince (YES ‘11), Lamhe Rahman (YES ‘17), and Maryan Karmoker (YES ‘13).
5) YES alumni don’t only work with youth – they also lead workshops with educators. Munif Khan (YES ‘12), Mustahsin Islam (YES ‘08) and Gulshan Jubaed Prince (YES ‘11) led a Teacher’s Training Workshop for 25 educators on student-centered learning. The three alumni covered topics such as task-based learning, diversifying lesson plans based on students’ learning styles, and monitoring student engagement.
6) In an effort to make all neighborhoods, regardless of socioeconomic status, cleaner, Ifreet Taheea (YES’15) organized Project Community Cleanup in a slum of Dhaka. Ifreet taught the residents of the slum strategies and steps they can take to make their environment cleaner and more hygenic. Ifreet led a group of 80 volunteers in a trash collection competition, and the group collected more than 50 bags of trash – over 20 kilograms (that’s 44 pounds!).
7) Zarin Masah Chowdhury (YES ‘16) organized a workshop called “Illuminating Minds” in a slum outside of Dhaka. Zarin led fun and interactive sessions for underprivileged students on themes including team building, moral education, personal hygiene, and environmental conservation. YES students that will be on program in 2018-2019 also attended the event – starting the strong tradition of Bangladeshi YES alumni service projects from an early point in their YES careers!
8) YES alumni partnered with six local karate teachers and organized an event for 106 young women on basic self-defense skills. The participants were trained on how to protect themselves in a situation where they would have to use physical force to ward off unwanted advances or attacks. Following the training, the girls attended a Positive Body Image Session. YES alumni and three additional guest speakers led a discussion on body positivity, female leaders, women empowerment and community service, and building a community of strong and supportive female figures. Alumni involved in this project were Mustahsin Islam (YES’08), Sumaia Sajjad (YES’12), Maryan Karmoker (YES’13), Targiv Sanan Roham (YES’16), and Mehzabin Nahar Chowdhury (YES’17).
9) Mohaiminul Islam Riaz (YES ‘10) collaborated with the association ELC Inspires, an English medium institution in Wari, Bangladesh to complete a"Leftover Food Rescue Project." The goal of the project was to provide food to hungry individuals within their community. For two days the group of 25 volunteers visited restaurants and hotels, and were able to collect 220 packets of food! The group distributed the food to the most vulnerable populations.
10) and 11) YES alumni led two sessions of the Mold the Clay workshop, held in Chittagong and Dinajpur. Mold the Clay aims to teach children aged between 10 -12 years old about empathy and morality, expressing their creative selves, improving self-confidence, and how to co-exist with everyone in ther community. The Chittagong session was run by Arham Ahanaf (YES ‘17), Marzaan Mirza (YES ‘17), and Maryan Karmoker (YES ‘13). In Dinajpur YES alumni Md. Abdullah-Al-Faruque Ratul (YES ‘10), Gulshan Jubaed Prince (YES ‘11 ), Lamhe Rahman (YES ‘17), and Maryan Karmoker (YES ‘13) led the sessions.
12) YES alumni led other alumni and community mobilizers in a training of trainer sessions. Topics included sympathy and empathy, effective communication, identifying problems, the project life cycle, budgeting, and brainstorming. YES Alumni Bangladesh initiated a platform called Voice for Change where the youth of the country are able to share their views, ideas and opinions freely through the use of social media and engage in civil discourse to raise awareness about social issues of our society. Voice for Change has now created Voice for Change Leadership and Diplomacy Club to have a sustainable base of passionate individuals who now have a platform to serve the community. YES alumni strive to make sure that professional development opportunities and workshops are always provided – even if alumni have already established a great program.
13) and 14) YES alumni led two sessions of “Not Her Fault” in two different locations. Not Her Fault is a workshop on women empowerment for youth which addresses patriarchal stigma, victim blaming, rape culture and gender disparity in Bangladesh. YES alumni Bangladesh organized this workshop amongst 15 – 18 years olds, so that they learn about the necessity of both genders playing equal parts in the society and the importance having respect for the opposite gender. The workshop dug deep into the root causes of these issues and helped conceptualize a scheme through which we can encourage young people engage in the discourse of sensitive matters regarding women to eventually desensitize these topics and remove the taboo that exists in society surrounding them.
15) Five YES alumni visited the Sunny Hill International School, Sylhet to run a workshop on the importance of community service. The objective of the workshop was to encourage youth to be involved with the betterment of their community. YES alumni worked with 43 young students between the ages of 13 to 16. The students learned about helping others, morality, and ethics. YES alumni shared strategies on how to identify problems in their community and bring together people to solve the problem with limited resources.