Youth Join Hands to Fight Poverty
Shuvashish Roy, Amatus Samiu Binte Awal and Taha
The International Day for the Eradication of Poverty was observed aiming to make a better environment for the people living in poverty. The day has been recognized at the United Nations and around the world from 16th to 18th of October. This day mainly highlights the rights and the dignity of those people living in poverty. Standing Up against poverty is not just a movement but also a part of the global campaign to mobilize a record number of people to physically and symbolically stand up against poverty within 24 hours all around the world. This year, 173,045,325 citizens gathered at over 3,000 events in more than 120 countries, demanding that their governments should eradicate extreme poverty and achieve the Millennium Development Goals.
''Stand Up, Take Action, End Poverty Now!' has been certified by Guinness World Records as the new world record and remains the largest mobilization of human beings in recorded history. Asia and Africa, where the largest numbers of poor people reside, continue to be the two regions where maximum number of people “Stand Up” for the MDGs. The top two countries in terms of numbers mobilized this year are Philippines and Bangladesh.
United Nations Youth and Students Association of Bangladesh (UNYSAB) organize this 'Stand Up, Take Action, End Poverty Now!' campaign every year in order to accumulate people all over the country to raise their voice against poverty. This is one of the major events of UNYSAB. Since 2006, UNYSAB is connected with this noble activity of Millennium Development Goal and this year the youth took forward the message of MDG's amongst the citizens in the capital as well as the other districts of the country. The events consisted of human chain, signature campaign, film show, show debate, quiz competition, essay writing competition, photography exhibition and idea generation contest at different renowned universities of Bangladesh.
UNYSAB and United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) jointly organized the event in all six division of Bangladesh. A human chain followed by signature campaign was held in Teachers' Training Centre of Dhaka University. How sensitive this poverty issue is to young generation could be determined when a student of DU wrote in that signature banner “I pledge to make poverty a history”. At Chittagong University, the campaign was a huge success with a massive participation of students. Dr. Abu Yousuf, Vice Chancellor, CU was present as Chief Guest. Other guests were Dr. Md. Alauddin, Pro VC, CU, Kazi Ali Reza, Officer- in- Charge of UNIC Dhaka, Md. Moniruzzaman, Reference Officer, UNIC Dhaka and Sheikh Mohd. Erfan Uddin, Executive Vice President, UNYSAB. At Shahjalal University of Science and Technology, Sylhet a debate session was organized. The Vice President of UNYSAB Zakir Hassan was present there as Chief Guest. At Sher-e-Bangla Medical College, Barisal, the film 'Duratta' provided by Impress Telefilm was shown in addition to the common event. At Dinajpur Medical College and Khulna University the stand up event were also observed with mass participation of students.
UNYSAB also organized Photography Exhibition and Idea Generation contest on the topic of 'Poverty Eradication' in North South University, BRAC University and Dhaka University. The photo exhibition was on the growing problem of world poverty, particularly the situation prevailing in Bangladesh. The portrayal of a young boy sitting on the side of the road wearing tattered clothes, covered in dirt, inhaling a half-eaten sandwich that he pulled out of a nearby dumpster, was captured in one of photographs among the countless others like it depicting the sorry conditions of a great number of families in our country and throughout the rest of the world. The exhibition demonstrated how Photography could be the single biggest influence in informing perceptions of poverty. “I wanted to show the poor living their lives, enjoying them in whatever small way they can afford, given their meager resources. I feel representing the poor in their moment of joy is a welcome change and can help people understand poverty in a different context”, said a young photographer. The winning photographs of the exhibition were “Beyond the poverty graph” by Nazmul Haque Nayeem of BRAC University, “Asha” by Iftekharul Islam of NSU and “No food no hope” by Ashraful Karim of Dhaka University. DUPS of Dhaka University, Monon and BIZbee of BRAC University and NSUDC of NSU were the associates of the photography exhibition.
The photography exhibition ended with a seminar at three universities in Dhaka. NSU-Pro Vice Chancellor SAM Khairul Bashar was present at the NSU seminar while Ex- Ambassador Humayun Kabir and former Bangladesh Bank Governor Dr Salehuddin Ahmed attended the BRAC University seminar as guests. Officer-in- charge, UNIC Kazi Ali Reza attended all three programs.
With this year's International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, came an occasion for the children to have their say against poverty. UNYSAB organised stand up events across thirteen different schools in Dhaka City. Viqarunnisa Noon School and College, Holy Cross, National Bank Public School and College, Rajuk Uttara Model School and College, Residential College, St. Joseph, European Standard School, Dhanmondi Tutorial, Maple Leaf Int'l School, Dholaipar High School, Shideshwary Girls College, Aga Khan School, SFX Green Herald School and Mastermind participated in this year's observance.
|Photo: Iftekharul Islam
The aim was simply to craft awareness amongst the youth. The daylong activity featured one minute of silence as a part of this commemorative celebration during the morning school assembly. Message of the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon was also relayed in these events. He nominated this day to promote awareness of the need to eliminate poverty and insolvency from the world. The children participated in this stand up event with great enthusiasm. The sign up booth produced great promises. The teachers, the school principals, the students- all wrote their pledges. Besides eradicating poverty, they also mentioned the social crises due to inflation, corruption, and lack of implementation of certain laws. Their young minds were full of queries, asking away whether their pledges could actually bring about changes in the distressed world. “Will it be possible to wipe out poverty from the face of the earth?” asked young Ashraf. They were explained, and given courage and hope that this is the start for any young individual to have an effective leading role in the future in the struggle against poverty. May be it will be possible to send poverty to the museum after all!
Holy Cross School provides free education to all in the evening time. The children who attended this evening school were asked to write down their thoughts in the sign up booth. They talked about certain necessities that they are deprived from; how little modifications, improved opportunities can transform the entire scenario! Maple Leaf School organized an essay competition. The topic was “What can you do as a youth to eradicate poverty from Bangladesh?” The turn up number was very high.
Investing in children and assuring child security was one of the main objectives in this year's Poverty Eradication Day. Behavioral adjustments amid the youth, creating awareness about how poverty can affect the young generation of any country and their responsibilities concerning poverty diminution is very important at an early stage of this generation. These children coming in contact with this global issue and realizing this obstacle indeed strenghthens the fight against poverty. The more well-built these youth voluntary organisations are the more reinforced the attempt to “End Poverty Now” will become.
When asked why UNYSAB has taken poverty eradication as their core issue, the President of UNYSAB Nafiz Imtiaz said, “Young people form fifty percent of the total population in the world. So if they want they can make it a better place. If they volunteer only a little part of their spare time in quest of poverty eradication, it is truly feasible to wipe out the word poverty from the world. ”
With our rising rate of unemployment and lack of education, Bangladesh is diving into poverty. Our country and a myriad of others need serious assistance. Money cannot make these problems vanish, no matter how much there is, but it can substantially diminish them. If given unlimited financial and human resources during the next ten years, our country and numerous others could take a significant step in reducing the problems of homelessness, education, and unemployment. Poverty must be the top priority of Bangladesh because the lack of education and nutrition are slowly weakening our generations. This must be dealt with so that people can have an equal opportunity to live a happy life. And this is the best time for the youth community of Bangladesh to vow against poverty because together we have the power to make a difference.
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