Home  -  Back Issues  -  The Team  Contact Us
Linking Young Minds Together
      Volume 6 | Issue 11 | March 18, 2012 |


   News Room
   Feed Board
   Campus Trends
   News Snap
   Post Campus
   Through the Lens
   Youth in Action
   After Class
   Silly Tales
   Star Chat

   Star Campus     Home

Youth in Action

The Heroes All Around Us

Star Campus Desk

When a student of Jagannath University, met seven-year-old Al-Amin at Sadarghat launch terminal, he asked him whether he would go to his house. In response, the scruffy-looking child in a torn t-shirt and shorts asked him, “Do you have storybooks at your house?”

Al-Amin used to attend an English medium school for underprivileged children, but after his family met with an accident and his father had to stop working, he had to quit school and take up whatever work he could find in order to contribute what little he could to his family.

Students and teachers of Jagannath University, supported by SRS, celebrate the birthday of 'Street Heroes'.

It is a common story, of the thousands of nameless, faceless children we see on the streets every day, selling flowers, balloons, toys, sweets, or simply begging for a taka or two. Common, yet unknown to us, for they are stories of people whose names we never ask, whose faces we barely glance at unless they dirty up our car windows with their grubby little hands. These children do not grow up playing with the toys or listening to fairy tales or watching superhero movies that our children do. Yet, their childhood -- which can hardly be called that -- is a battle greater than any fought in the cartoon adventures our children watch with so much excitement, and they themselves are little less than any superhero we know of. The lives of these children are common but real, and their battles are not to save the world but themselves and their families, their battle to survive.

For this very reason, on a special day this Leap Year, February 29, the students of the Department of Marketing of Jagannath University decided to celebrate the birthdays of children who have none. Thrust into a world which fails to provide them with their basic needs of food, shelter and clothing, let alone an education or “childhood” in any sense of the word, these unimaginably strong and resilient children have nothing to look forward to any day, let alone a special day every year. Thus the students, along with their teachers and Vice-Chancellor, and supported by a local NGO, Social and Rehabilitation Services (SRS) run by a group of young people who work mainly in remote and ultra-poor areas of the country, gathered 45 “Street Heroes” from surrounding areas and celebrated a common birthday for them all. With a three-tiered cake, balloons and streamers, masks and whistles and souvenir t-shirts, songs and a cartoon show, it was a celebration that many of us take for granted, but which was like a dream for the birthday boys and girls that day. For Al-Amin, who read out a small vote of thanks in English; for Aklima, who sang the national anthem; and for the enthusiastic little girl who grabbed the microphone from her to recite a little nursery rhyme.

True, if the initiative is not followed through, that one day may not change the lives of the children in the long run. But it did add one day of fun and joy to their otherwise bleak lives and, if those more fortunate than them come forward to help, as those who did that day, these children may just grow up to be true heroes in a society that is badly in need of them.

Copyright (R) thedailystar.net 2012