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Help a child smile

As 3-year-old Ashiq lay writhing in his bed, fighting his lost battle with cancer, he said these words to his weeping mother:
“Ammu, please do not cry. Can't you see that I am alright?”

God did not prolong his suffering much after that, and on the very next day, he left, literally from his mother's arms. Instead of being destroyed with grief, his family used his inspiration to make a difference to the lives of thousands of children just like their own. Thus, ASHIC, the organisation for cancer-affected children was born.

Now after more than a decade, ASHIC has touched the lives of about 10000 children in the country. Just recently, it has received a 40000-euro grant from UICC, the International Union against Cancer. The money will be used to set up the first palliative care unit in Bangladesh.

The main motive of ASHIC is to provide holistic assistance to the cancer-affected children, and some of their major programs include provision of counselling, accommodation, and temporary finances for treatment. They also assist in raising donations, finding a sponsor for a child's treatment, arranging outing programs for the family, and also setting up play centres in various paediatric wards.

Apart from International organisations, ASHIC is largely dependant on the love and generosity of caring individuals. There are several ways to donate, the details of which can be found in their website at www.ashic.org, or by contacting at their office. Other than offering financial support you can also play an even more direct role in helping these children by helping in any of their projects:

ASHIC Shelter
The following are some of several volunteer opportunities with the ASHIC Shelter:
Be a playmate to the children and their siblings
Help with providing food for the resident families you can either cook on location or donate the food
Help organize fun events for the resident families

'Adopt-a-family' by helping them with their logistical requirements i.e. taking the children to the hospital, helping with the siblings' schooling or even with helping to write letters to friends & family

ASHIC Outing Program
The following are some of several volunteer opportunities with the ASHIC Outing Program:
Provide transportation to the ASHIC family
Provide refreshments or snack items for the children
'Pick-a-child' by spending your time with him/ her during the outing. The children will be very grateful for your attention and love

ASHIC Patient Service
The following are some ways that you can volunteer with the ASHIC Patient Service:
Help organize and implement birthday parties for the sick children
Visit with the hospitalised children and help create their 'wish list'
Gather toys and other goodies that the children want and help distribute them

Help with providing logistical support to the children under treatment e.g. accompanying them to the hospital for their doctor's visits.

Help tutor the children under treatment (where applicable) and/ or provide the tutoring to their eligible siblings

The initiative taken up by Ashiq's family is indeed a noble and brave one. And it is up to you now, to join this league and make a difference. So come forth, and help make the lives of these children, a little better. For further information, contact 8613594 or visit www.ashic.org

By Tausif Salim

Walking down the memory lane…and a few infos

As I stepped on the wooden floor, the familiar smell of rubber, and the wobbling bouncing sounds of a few dozen balls made me realize what I had missed the past two years. Watching my brother tackle the opponent and aiming for a 3-pointer, made me want to step back into the floor, play a few tricks or two, duck a few opponents and put the ball right in the basket. It was a feeling of nostalgia, gripping me at the very moment that made me want to step back inside the indoor basketball court. I found my basketball teacher, as bald as ever, and as kind as ever, waving at me. I ran to him, I wondered how he still remembered me after all these years! Basketball Federation Training School is one such place for boys and girls, and passionate semi-adult fans like me to learn the art of mastering the game of Michael Jordan.

When I first enrolled into the institution, initially I thought the sir enjoyed seeing us out of breath and panting for air! Oh the horror! We (girls) abhor the idea of push-ups since it is quite difficult for us. Taking this fact as his 'weapon', sir used to make us do 10 to 15 push-ups for every mistake we made! It was only later on when I finally weighed myself, that I changed my thoughts about him. I had lost almost 5 kilos. Not much you might say, but for someone like me who loves 'bangali daal-bhaat', it was a lot. Weighing apart, I found out that I had become hard working than before, utilizing every moment of my free time learning something new or practicing the old. BFTS did not only nourish my love for basketball but also made my personality strong. When you have to convince your playmates that you are the boss, you would knowwhat I mean.

Whatever the case, I had to quit BFTS due to my coaching conundrum, and never quite managed to return to the venue until last week. All right, enough of blabbering about my memory lane now for some information- if you would like to enroll in BFTS the rule is simple. Go to Abahoni Cricket Field in Dhanmondi and ask anyone for the BFTS gate. Fill out the form in the office. You will need two passport sized photos and one stamp size photo for the ID card. The admission fee is Tk. 300 and the monthly fee is Tk. 200. There are practice sessions everyday; the juniors or entry-level students play on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays while the seniors play every Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays. The timing is from 4 pm to 5 pm for girls and 5 pm to 6 pm for boys. The separate training hours for guys and girls are especially convenient for girls. Parents have waiting areas at the side of the court. BFTS is equipped with balls and you do not need to bring your own, but if you want to bring your own, you may, since many of the balls have become quite smooth on the course of time, and trust me you do not want to be playing a game with a smooth ball!

For those of you who have the passion to play, join in today. For those of you who do not like Basketball and just need to loose your weight productively, I suggest you try out BFTS anyways!

By Shamma M. Raghib

Rock against corruption

Once upon a time, Bangladesh and Nigeria used to compete as to who should take the #1 spot in the world's most corrupted countries list.

Bangladesh has beaten Nigeria a few years ago. Now Bangladesh holds the crown when it comes to corruption. War is all around us. Insecurity devours us. Are we impotent to act?

Do you know that only 1% of what the world spent on weapons was needed to put every child in school by the year 2000? The Bush administration took over US. They started war in Afghanistan and Iraq. Now think about 'Rock Against Bush' Volume I and II. Think about American Idiot by Green Day.

Even though the campaign against Bush could not stop him from being elected twice; I would not say it failed, as 'failed', my friends, is too harsh a word to use. It has made a difference. It has ensured that 'Bushism' will not be tried in the next few decades.

I say we are not impotent to act. We can start a campaign against corruption and convey the message to people via music, precisely rock. If a few big names like Artcell, Aurthohin, Black, Cryptic Fate and recently Breach would join the willing underground bands to launch a huge campaign against corruption, may be we can make a difference. Even if it influences only those that are young, it will prevent this generation to make the same mistakes as their predecessors; when they are in the position to do so.

Some have argued that a lot of bands have written anti-corruption songs previously but have never received attention as anti-corruption songs. However, I believe they were not given adequate attention because they were not released under a title like “Rock against corruption”. I would bet many of those bands never mentioned corruption in their album sleeves.

Some have also claimed that it would be a dangerous step for the musicians, which; unfortunately, is true to some extent. But it should also be kept in mind that the campaign, as I would like to call it, is not against a particular person or a political party or a government. It is against corruption in general.

How much impact an album titled “Rock Against Corruption” would have on the society is questionable. It is true that someone who is worried about earning his/her bread for the day would not be motivated by music; that too underground rock. However, I am trying to make a tiny little bit of contribution towards our country. What better can us, the underground population, do sitting in front of computers with most of the possible luxuries of life? Actually, there are things we can do such as go volunteer for some sort of relief work. Then again half the relief materials and donation money will be pocketed by the political leaders. So if we are doing music already, why not do it for a bigger cause?

A lot of people have argued that music can not obliterate corruption. In this regard allow me to quote from a website my friend Rafi (Makorsha), a former writer of RS, “I want to clarify that we do not aim to 'reduce' or 'remove' corruption. It is true that we want that. But we are aware that the idea of a bunch of kids going to offices to stop people from bribing is quite stupid and unpractical. But what we have in our hands is music, fortunately rock, which has the loudest voice in times like these. Shout out loud what you think about corruption. When you sing a rock number, 100 people sing along with you. If you have a clear message, u can put it to 100 heads together, who will be inspired to hate corruption. That is how powerful rock is, and underground musicians of Bangladesh are blessed with the power; what is required is the use of it. I say again, we don't aim removal or reduction of corruption. We aim to make those bastards feel bad and to make the new generation an anti-corruption unit itself.”

If you support or oppose any part of the concept please mail me at tridevi.chakma@sedbergh.com
Let's give rock a chance. Let's give us a chance. Let's rock against corruption.

By guitar_girl


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