Finding Heroes in Everyday Life
Just over a year ago, the BBC launched a new youth television programme, BBC Buzz, with the tagline “celebrating the best of everyday life in Bangladesh” to reflect the diversity of young people's ambitions, aspirations and achievements.
One year on and the show has become one of the biggest factual shows on television. It has achieved something unique in Bangladesh by offering a weekly platform for showcasing young 'everyday heroes' throughout the country – ordinary people doing extraordinary things.
When the show initiated, there was much debate on the production team about whether it would be possible to find enough 'everyday heroes' to fill all thirty programmes. A year later, as the preparation to transmit the last episode of BBC Buzz is on, the programme can boast of having a catalogue of over one hundred stories of inspirational youngsters that have been featured on the show.
The programme presented committed environmentalists like twenty-three year old Ahmed Ullah who was worried about the declining bird population in his village in Gaibandha. Ahmed had the bright idea that clay pots could be used as nests for the birds and – entirely on his own initiative – set about tying the pots to trees. His instinct was spot on; more birds are now nesting near his home and Ahmed has proved that a moment's inspiration can go a very long way.
Women, who challenge traditional stereotypes, like the country's first ever female train driver, Salma Khatun, and one of Bangladesh's few female DJs, Rita, were brought under the limelight. These were women pursuing their passions in spite of preconceived ideas about the kind of roles they should play. As Rita said, “If you really want to do something, prove to them that you are capable of doing it!”
In a country lesser known for its sporting achievements, the producers encountered champion swimmers, surfers, golfers and archers, all of whom were taking their talents onto an international stage and bringing huge kudos to Bangladesh in the process, like hotshot young surfer Zafar Alam.
The programme also discovered people enriching the country's cultural life by bringing new forms of performance to Bangladesh, like comedy club organiser Navid Mahbub and salsa dance teacher Adnan Saqib. Elsewhere individuals dedicated to preserving the country's cultural heritage like Saymon Zakaria, who travels to the far corners of Bangladesh collecting and documenting traditional folk performances, were brought forward.
There are, of course, far too many everyday heroes to mention here by name. But hopefully all of them – and the countless others who had not been showcased – will continue to push boundaries, pursue passions and have their substantial achievements recognised.
In this week's final episode of BBC Buzz, some of the inspirational young people will be revisited to find out what they've been up to since; everyday heroes whose rich diversity of interests and whose passion, commitment and initiative really do embody the best of everyday life in Bangladesh.
BBC Buzz will be transmitted on ATN Bangla on Friday at 9.20pm.
The writer is Series Editor of BBC Buzz
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