“The Threaded Resort”
ULAB-Spanish Embassy joins hand for a creative work
Mushfiq Fahad Ameen
Photos: Sowrav Das
ON the last week of Februray, 14 spirited students from the University of Liberal Arts Bangladesh (ULAB) wrote their success story through a memorable event that they organized at the Radius Centre and subsequently at their very own ULAB campus. It was titled “The Threaded Resort”. The Event was supported by the embassy of Spain and inaugurated by the State Minister for Women and Children Affairs Dr. Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury and the Ambassdor of Spain H.E. Arturo Perez Martinez.
It was an exhibition of photographs coupled with a documentary film screening and a case study display on the lives of the vibrant yet ironclad Bangladeshi female garment workers. The machines they operate, the streets they walk, the tales they tell, the business they plan for the future, their love for their future generations and an indomitable struggle to protect them all became the stages in this multimedia story.
The students, from the course “Introduction to Political Thought”, conducted active research into the lives and works of female garment workers as a part of their course and turned their research result into this comprehensive event. Although not at all alien to the reality of these workers, every new story was a new revelation to them as they report.
They gathered the stories of Momtaz, Maleka, Rahima and others who found their life partners in their workplaces. Hena, Nasrin and hundreds of others who had to quit their studies, stricken by utter poverty, family crises or devastating twists of fate. Many of them fled their old rural homes in search of a more secure future, or simply fled the social cornering still rampant in rural Bangladesh like dowry, sexual harassment and loss of property by force. All of them had unique stories to tell, yet they were bound by the same string of poverty; difficult perhaps to witness for our privileged eyes.
With the support of the Embassy of Spain, ULAB and the equally spirited course coordinator Dr. Rathana Peou van den Heuvel, it was the first time ever in Bangladesh that undergraduate students have been allowed entry into garments factories to conduct full-fledged research and that too with photographs. One the students, stayed with a group of them over a 24-hour period, gathering domestic photos and stories despite all the risks involved. Now, the students plan to take some of the pictures to the subjects themselves at their various garment factories.
The fact, apart from the common perception, that their lives are not just about labor, struggle and exploitation, was the focus of this endeavour. Students found them laughing for minutes out of trivial gossip, caught them spending precious time with their children, saw them putting make-up on each other and their faces going red just because a camera snapped them. Many of them still continue to study, and most of them support their families in the villages.
A resourceful complement for the event, the brochure-postcard was designed by the group.
Each piece of the brochure can be pulled apart to become actual individual postcards. Now the portraits and stories of Mitali, Mumtaz, Poly and the others will fly around the globe along with the research results. The project now will now also travel around the Bangladeshi countryside to different outreach sites of the German International Cooperation Enterprise, GTZ. The brochures from the resort will be displayed in Madrid in the head offices of the Spanish Apparel Group, INDITEX, known for its brand, Zara.
As roughly 75% of Bangladeshi exports are garments and 80% of it is manned by women, we realized what level of delusion most people live in when it comes to conceiving women and their value in a society.The ULAB students spent long hours putting this project together, thinking of the longer still hours of work the garments women do for the day's food . No matter how small or big it had been for the subjects, the students now feel like they are a part of them; and felt that it was mutual. Perhaps, this is the best humans can ask from life.
The next step for the ULAB students will be to facilitate knowledge empowerment for a group of underprivileged women in a 24-month long project in collaboration with AIDA and the local NGO AUP. The conditions that have been encountered and represented, in a however small manner, are grave and can only be dealt with by little steps forward. Students today, know that we are the future, and this representation of the threaded resort has hopefully made our promise only stronger.
Thewriter is a senior student and the Research and Communications assistant for ULAB ISD.
Nescafe Career Club launched
Md.Naibur Rahman Uupol
NESCAFE, the most popular coffee brand of Bangladesh, introduced its latest venture “Nescafe Career Club” on 4 March,2010 at Northern University Auditorium. Students and Faculty members from four enlisted universities of this club- North South University, American International University, United International University and Northern University came under the same roof to attend the grand opening ceremony. This event was also operated by Prothom-alo Jobs.
The idea and objectives of promoting this career club were jotted down by Mr. Galib, Brand Manager (Beverage), Nescafe. His view cleared how desperately the whole corporate world is waiting for some real future leaders. This career club is an initiative to transcend students into future leaders. All the faculty members such as Mr. Niaz from NSU,Mr. Ehsan from AIUB, Mr. Awal from NUB shared their views about the importance and affectivity of Career Club in today's world.
Zishu Tarafder, A career specialist, explained the requirement of good career by demonstrating his own magic on the word Career. “Career will commensurate with Competitiveness, Attitude, Resources, Education, Eagerness and Result” said Mr. Tarafder. His easy and warm approach made the environment interactive especially on the topic of discrimination between Public and Private Universities. He advised every student to discover their own possibility and to live in the moment of truth. The idea of “Mind Mapping”, relating one's all potential s to its constraint, acted as main force to discover one's own individuality. He encouraged students to gain possible work experience by involving themselves into SME sectors where one can get a little bit easy access.
Nescafe Career Club already sketched the plan of involving seven more universities including two public universities. Because this seems to have garnered a positive reaction that one can be more groomed by being more united.
(DU Correspondent, Star Campus)