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     Volume 2 Issue 10 | May 12 , 2007 |


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Behind the Scene

From Sirajganj

The Activities of the Reader's Club

Mohaimin Sagor

Our lives nowadays are so mechanical. We are growing older in this technology-enriched environment and we all have that fast paced attitude. When will we have the time for ourselves, when will we have time for each other? When do we even sit down to think about taking a little time out of our busy schedules to do something for the society? Do we really have the ability? Of course, we do! All we need is the will. All we need is the right state of mind.

The Daily Star Reader's Club is a place for a group of people with exactly that attitude. We, the members, are doing what we can to help the people around us. We get together thrice a week at 5.00 pm at the Sirajganj School and College in Sirajganj, and practice English amongst ourselves. We discuss different topics and work on grammar. We have the rule that participants cannot speak in English for the duration of the hour and this forces us to get some practice. Whenever we find foreigners visiting our village, we make it a point to go up to them and converse with them.

Alongside practicing English ourselves, we also try to engage in the active betterment of the community. We introduced a class for underprivileged street children three days a week. Not only do we try to make them literate, we also try to help their mental and moral growth. We try our best to help out a group of kids who do not have the slightest hope of getting a formal education. We also conduct social events to raise awareness, such as a “career planning for unemployed youth” program that we successfully conducted last year. News regarding the program has already been published in both The Daily Star and The Independent in June 2006. Through poster advertising, we try to create awareness among people about how they should not misuse scarce resources like electricity and gas.

Every Friday, we try to get together and watch a movie. In my experience, watching English movies and listening to native speakers can have a real effect on someone's learning of the language. Some Fridays, we arrange picnics for our members. With time, our events have become more entertaining and recreational and we have been getting highly positive responses from the community. Thirty members have registered their names in our books, and around twenty of them are regularly attending our practice sessions. Ten to twelve of the oldest members, who have carried on the activities for so long, have tremendously improved in spoken English and can communicate in English easily.

We charge Tk. 50 as a registration fee and Tk. 30 as a subscription fee. Service holders, businessmen, and mainly students comprise of the main body of members. All sorts of people are joining. The club panel or executive committee sits together on the 14th and 28th of every month for panel meetings. About a year ago, Rafi Hossain, the coordinator of The Daily Star Reader's Club, contacted us and came to Sirajganj. We arranged a meeting in his presence, and he inaugurated the Club and gave me the responsibility of managing the activities.

We would like to thank Rafi Hossain and Shaheen Kabir for the Learner's Club page in Star Insight. That page is the source of a lot of helpful materials for us. The Reader's Club would also like to thank Hamidul Haque Khan, former district magistrate of Sirajganj; Rezaul Karim, Assistant Professor of Sirajganj Government College; Priotosh Shaha, Additional District Commissioner (Revenue); Golam Mostofa Jibon, the Daily Star's District Correspondent; Sanchita Chowdhury, lecturer of English in Sirajganj Islamia Government College; Moazzem Hossain, banker, Abdul Latif, Headmaster of Jnanadaini High School in Sirajganj Shaiful Islam Bhuiyan, assistant commissioner for Sirajganj district and Sanuarul Alam, English teacher at Sirajganj School and College for providing us with much needed help and support. And above all, thanks to all our members.

Mohaimin Sagar is the Reader's Club Convener, Sirajganj and a student



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