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So you know where to shop?

Part# 3

Way from the hubbub and glitz of the more prominent street shopping areas, we embarked on an excursion towards a whole new place. You would definitely not call it your ultimate shopping paradise. Nevertheless we felt that it could certainly be counted in our list. So the location was Dhaka University campus, the specific area being the pavement in front of Institute of Fine Arts. The crowd here was way different from the ordinary shopping places. If you looked around, you would most likely to come across university students, residents of the campus or simple passers-by enjoying a peaceful evening stroll. A touch of intellectuality seemed to emanate from the whole atmosphere.

Amidst this surrounding, we found our first van, selling bags of jute. Now this came as no less than a surprise since most of the jute mills across the country are now shut down. Then we got to that the van was government approved “Bahumukhi Patpannyer Chaloman Bikray Kendrya”. The hawker displayed his collection of a number of jute bags coming in different shapes and sizes. Some of these had printed flowers on them while others were decorated with shells. Their prices did not exceed Tk.200.

A little further ahead we spotted another street vendor. At first glance, we went like “what could one possibly buy from here?” However, after a close inspection we realized that he had a rather nice collection of accessories. There were 'heavy balas' made from beads that cost 50 taka per pair whereas a set consisting of a pair of bangles, earrings and a necklace cost 30 bucks only! Another set with heavy bead work cost Tk.80. Ceramic necklaces, designed and colored in the shape of a Bangladesh flag were being sold. You could flaunt your patriotism in only 20 bucks! Bead anklets were available for also Tk.20 per pair.

Apart from that there were folks selling off trendy looking belts for 30 to 80 bucks. To add more to the warm and peaceful atmosphere, there was this man sitting on the pavement with different kinds of flutes. He had flutes ranging from really small ones to ones as large as sugarcanes! Their prices were from Tk.10 and rising till Tk.500. We also came across rings and bracelets entirely made of beads. These items were quite unique since you could write your name on them. The bracelets would cost you Tk.30 while the rings were priced at Tk.10.

Pros
The people here are sober and calm. You would not be pushed and shoved around as if you were in New Market or Farmgate. Extremely good news for the eat-a-holics (like us!) since you get more choices apart from chotpoti and fuchka. You can either grab chops and chicken fry hot from the stove or relish puri and shingara with sauce! Apart from that you will get to spend a relaxing walk with your friend with some casual shopping.

Cons
Hardcore street shoppers may be disappointed as you would not find a wide variety of shops. Moreover, the vendors here are not much interested in haggling so whoever has this itching habit will not be too happy.
Rating: 4/5

By Faria Sanjana and Nayeema Reza
Photos: Faria


The Duke of Edinburgh's International Award, now in Bangladesh

As the time to apply to colleges draws nearer, there's a mad scramble to accumulate ECA's. You tick off the list of your achievements and suffer moments of self-doubt, wondering if it will be enough to make your dream institution sit up and take notice of you…

If that sounds familiar, there's some good news for you. The Duke of Edinburgh's International Award, an exciting international self-development programme geared towards equipping young people worldwide with life skills, was launched at the Standard Chartered Bank, Gulshan on Wednesday last.

To date almost five million young people from over 120 countries have participated in this programme, undertaking a variety of voluntary and challenging activities. In the words of its founder HRH The Duke of Edinburgh, “The programme is intended to help both the young people as well as those who are concerned for their welfare. The object is to provide an introduction to worthwhile leisure activities and voluntary service, as a challenge to the individual to discover the satisfaction of achievement and as a guide for those people and organizations who would like to encourage the development of their younger fellow citizens.”

The Award is available to young people aged between 14 and 25. The basic structure of the the award programme consists of the four mandatory sections: Service, Adventurous Journey, Skills and Physical Recreation. There are three levels of the Award: Bronze (for those over 14), Silver (for those over 15) and Gold (for those over 16). The minimum period of participation for direct entrants to qualify for an award is 6 months for Bronze, 12 months for silver, and 18 months for a Gold award. At gold level participants undertake a Residential Project away from home. The criterion for gaining an Award is individual improvement through persistence and achievement, taking into account the participants initial capabilities, and without any element of competition between participants. Participation is entirely voluntary and the individual participant has a completely free choice in the selection of the locally available options within the four sections. There is no discrimination against participation on grounds of sex, race, religion or political affiliation.

As of now, the DEIA programme has been launched in Bangladesh, with a local Board of Trustees. Several schools and universities, including Red Brick School, BIT, Oxford International School, IUB, UIU, and some others, have already signed up to make the programme available in their respective institutions.

For know how you can become a participant in the program, you can contact Mr Suman K Saha, at the Standard Chartered Bank, Gulshan at 01716897672. For more detailed information on the Award programme itself, visit http://theaward.org

By Sabrina F Ahmad


Dream big, think R&G

We all like to dream big. Most of these dreams die as we grow old, and evolve as we mature. However, only a few can materialize their dreams and doing so at a young age is quite commendable. Here I am, introducing to you a bunch of talented young enthusiasts who've followed their aspirations and have started their own business recently. Allow me to take you on a journey through the folds of R&G Group.

R&G Group started it's efficient, dynamic yet humble journey with the operation of R&G Associates back in 1998 and the activities of the company consisted of work related to readymade garments export to the US and European markets.. The letters R and G represent the colours red and green respectively of the flag of Bangladesh. The idea behind choosing such a name reflects the vision of representing Bangladesh to the world from a positive outlook through business activities.

Under the leadership of Saifur Rashid and support from Iftekhar Rashid, the business expanded, R&G Associates became a limited company in 2003 and soon was a leading business house in the RMG export industry.

However, in pursuit of diversification and expansion, an event management company named Interactive Showbiz started in 1999. As the new CEO, Maimun-ur-Rashid Mustafa (note: he's only 19) expanded the business activities of Interactive Showbiz by incorporating public relations and business solutions (website designing, content provision, publications) as the new departments of the company. Ziaus Sobhan and TechMark Solutions came into existence under the same banner in 2005, providing hardware and software solutions to tech-centric companies at home and abroad. Business boomed and Saifur soon realized there was a shortage of quality institutes to produce skilled human resources although it was a necessity in economic growth. Thus began Bangladesh Professional Training Institute (BPTI) in 2006, providing specialized skill development courses for students as well as executives from different tracks. Ahsan Mosharraf Barkatullah joined the institute this year and plans to better the training program from his experiences at Princeton University from where he will complete his undergraduate degree.

In early 2008, when BTRC was working to prepare the licensing guideline for call centres, Saifur and his team decided to enter into the call centre business with the intention to provide effective support to the aspiring call centre owners and hence, DIAL Management was born.

However, amidst all this, the most groundbreaking concept introduced by the business is Net Betar. This is the part where you don't skim and read through the lines. As the first netcasting site in Bangladesh, www.netbetar.com began its remarkable journey in 2008 with Ashraf Abir as the Chief Executive Officer. With a team of net jockeys (NJs) aged below 30 which includes eminent actor Shams Sumon as the Head of Operations, the first online radio venture has already proved to be immensely popular. What's most surprising and exciting about the project is its neat streaming. The sound quality is excellent and Net Betar will soon begin its full-time transmission. Listening to a local online radio station from any part of the world is definitely an experience like none other, and a spark like that coming from our very own Bangladesh is something to be proud of.

R&G Group is expanding every day, introducing more dynamism and youth participation by the minute. Their motto stands to redefine the future and they've already created their mark within select groups. With hopes of being part of a revolution in youth-centric business and through Net Betar, R&G Group continues its journey and encourages everyone to embark upon it.

By Sabhanaz Rashid Diya

 


 

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