Courtesy: Shehzad Aman
A Unique Endeavour in Old Dhaka
Many people talk about the possibilities of earthquake in our country, but there are very few who are actually capable of showing ways in which the loss or damage of this devastating natural calamity can be minimised. With volunteering spirit and determination in head and heart, the members of House of Volunteers (HoV) organised an 'Earthquake Awareness Campaign' where HoV, University of Dhaka (DU) and HoV, Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET) worked collaboratively. The aim was to show some effective as well as scientific ways of staying safe during this disaster, to the future generation. The campaign was inaugurated on June 14 at Armanitola Government High School, a school that has a heritage of over hundred years in Old Dhaka. This is a signature campaign of HoV, Bangladesh (HoV, BD) which will go on for next few months at different schools of Old Dhaka.
The campaign was designed in three phases. In the first phases the volunteers of HoV, DU and HoV, BUET went to Old Dhaka in a group to conduct a survey. Old Dhaka was chosen by HoV, BD, as most of the establishments of this area are very archaic and if earthquake occurs, this particular area will be the most vulnerable than any other area of this city. The teams from BUET and DU talked with the officials of some schools in order to run the event in those selected schools. The volunteers got quite positive responses at most of the schools.
In the second phase, both the teams met together, designed the whole campaign and arranged the resources like projectors, laptops, banners etc to successfully conduct the campaign. A team from BUET went to Armanitola School for discussing those facilities beforehand.
During the third phase, the project was implemented with all its vigor and vitality. A good number of HoVs reached Armanitola Government High School by nine in the morning to assist the event. There were two sessions held where the presenters from both DU and BUET, pro-actively provided the students with an understanding of earthquake. As the students were very young, the presenters discussed critical aspects of earthquake in simple and easy language. Keeping helmets and fire extinguisher at home, wearing the helmet if the earthquake occurs--were some of the points that were discussed as preparations of earthquake. Afterwards the dos and don'ts while earthquake outbreaks, and measures that should be taken afterwards were also presented in detail in the verbal training session. Relevant videos were shown in the session to make the audience more interested and informed.
The students showed their utmost interest in the session. Students asked so many amusing and unexpected questions that the volunteers were delighted to see their creativity and out-of-the-box thinking. They asked questions about what could be done during the earthquake if they were on a boat, what will happen if they were sleeping at the time of the earthquake etc. However, the volunteers of BUET and DU tried their best to solve the queries with their technical and practical knowledge. At the end the students found themselves to have a good sense over the complex but important issues of earthquake.
“I'll never be afraid of earthquake as now I know how to save myself.” said Fahad, a student of class 6. Azad, another student of class 9 said, “Now, I'll talk to our landlord to repair the old establishment of our house as it's so important for the future of the inhabitants.” The volunteers believe that they had put up the event successfully with their best efforts. Abrar Hossen Rafi, a volunteer of BUET shares, “It was a very good chance for me to show my leadership traits through such community activities.” Jisan Mahmud, a DU volunteer expressed satisfaction by saying, “I always wanted to be involved in this kind of social activities which is sustainable; this time I believe I have made it.” The Principal of Armanitola Government High School also inspired the students and invited them again to come to the school premise with this type of unique initiative.
Earthquake Awareness Campaign is not a one-day show; rather it is a continuous process to make the new generation aware of this virulent natural calamity that may hit any time in the future. This exceptional campaign aims to protect valuable life and property of the people in the adverse circumstances and minimise the loss to possible extent. The HoV teams believe they can really draw a change, effective as well as sustainable to the society.
(The writer is the President of House of Volunteers, DU.)
DID YOU KNOW?
American Athlete and nine time Gold winner in track and field events, Frederick Carlton Lewis was born in Birmingham, Alabama, on July 1, 1961 (today is his 51st birthday!). His parents ran a local athletics club and this proved a crucial influence on both Carl and his sister, Carol. At age of 13, Lewis started to compete in the long jump, and while attending Willingboro High School, he emerged as a promising athlete. As a junior, he was one of the top long jumpers in New Jersey, and by his senior year he was one of the top long jumpers in the world. Lewis was initially coached by his father, who coached other local athletes to elite status, including Tom Farrell, a local runner and eventual junior Olympic medalist and sub-4 minute miler. Many colleges tried to recruit Lewis, and he chose to enroll at the University of Houston where Tom Tellez was coach. Tellez would thereafter remain Lewis' coach for his entire career. Days after graduating from high school in 1979, Lewis broke the high school long jump record with a leap of 8.13 m (26 ft 8 in). Lewis immediately decided to make a living off his athletic abilities, even though track and field was nominally an amateur sport. At year's end, Lewis achieved his first world ranking as tabulated by Track and Field News, an American publication and self-described “Bible of the Sport.” He was 5th in the world in the long jump. Lewis qualified for the American team for the 1980 Olympics in the long jump and as a member of the 4 x 100 m relay team. Though his focus was on the long jump, he was now starting to emerge as a sprint talent. The Olympic Boycott meant that Lewis did not compete in Moscow. However, he did compete at the Liberty Bell Classic in July 1980, an alternate meet for boycotting nations.
Information Source: Internet.