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“Ability And Inclusion”
The Potential To Learn and
The Right To Survive

The ambience preceding the entrance to the photo exhibition gave off no hint of the thought provoking pictures that awaited the common visitor. It was a photo exhibition with a difference and one that not only deserves applause but a standing ovation as it also sends a strong visual message to a society which cruelly discriminates against the so-called disabled people. The laudable effort, titled “Ability and Inclusion”, organized by the Centre for Disability and Development, showcasing the work of photographer Shumon Ahmed officially opened on the 127th birth anniversary of Helen Keller. The aim of the exhibition is not only to raise awareness about the plight of the disabled people, but to highlight the fact that disabled people also have immense potential and they too dream about success. The exhibition makes it a point to show that such people, can not only excel in life just like any other healthy individual, but they can also surpass the latter.

The photos come with captions in English, Bengali and also Braille and these inform the readers about the subjects of the pictures. On more than one instance, the moments captured on camera, reaches out to the observer and compels that person to think and to change the common concept that disabled people cannot do anything in life. It rather states that they should be given an equal chance like everyone else.

The photos themselves came in groups, where they narrate the story of a disabled person and that person's struggle and strength that helps him/her to achieve something beyond comprehension. The images prove the potential and the will that disabled people have. There are pictures depicting the life of Bimal Marandi, 18 years of age, who lost both arms during an accident when he was 7 years old. The images show how he has overcome his disability via the help of Community Centre for the Handicapped and has established himself as an international artists, who paints using his feet and whose paintings are sold all over the world. He has also joined the Abedin Art School in Mymensingh. In another room there are pictures that have captured the metamorphosis of Akhi, an 8 year old who fell to the grasp of polio. Studying in class two, she taught herself how to sew and write with her feet and also learnt embroidery designing from her older sister.

Another series of touching pictorials portray the transformation of 6-year-old Raihad, who after contracting cerebral palsy was condemned to a life of distress, inactiveness and one devoid of joy or companionship. But he too was soon rescued and via therapy can now move his hands, control his movements and will soon be able to walk. There are also pictures of Nasima, who aspires to be a lawyer even though she is visually impaired. Plus she desires to learn computing skills and has also done extremely well in her SSC exams.

The exhibition is unique and noble in the sense that it stands to gain no personal attention but rather aims to tell the world about the disabled people. It not only asks the viewer to take a message from the photographs rather ushers him/her into a world of possible miracles and transformations based on will and belief. The myriad of emotions that each picture possesses leaves an undeniable and lasting impression on the visitors. In the end, I too learned, that sympathy won't ever help this “forgotten community” but devotion, care, respect and an acceptance of their rights in this world to dream, to study and to succeed will surely boost their development and eventually the disparity that exists will forever disappear.

Location: - Shilpangan, Rd-3, House- 26, Dhanmondi, Dhaka, Bangladesh.

By Osama Rahman

Welcome to Our World
less socializing

“Hi it is Mokles, I wanna make friendship because u r very beautiful. How u r still single?!?! I know god kept u single for me. My number is ##### call me and I will keep you happy”

The above 'catch line' (excuse me for insulting the phrase) should ring a bell for all those who possess a Hi5 profile, especially girls and maybe even some unfortunate guys. It represents only a fraction of the absolute nonsense that fills up the inbox, every single day. Of course in the beginning it wasn't like this and the purpose of Hi5 was not to serve as an open arena for 'bio-datas'; free for inspection and investigation. It was supposed to be an easy way to keep track of friends and acquaintances. Obviously its purpose has been misunderstood… and believe me that is an understatement!

Initially it was quite alright with friends writing in personalized profile comments about what they like or (scarcely) what they dislike about you. Even that is somewhat pointless given that all these opinions are absolutely subjective- as in a person who maybe 'the sweetest person in the world' or 'the most adorable bear(?!?!)' to one may not be the same to everyone else. But then again I guess its alright coming from a close friend, but when an absolute stranger takes the liberty of making the same sort of comments…it's slightly, lets say, pointless. The photo comments were meant for reminiscing about the particular event during which the snapshot was taken…preferably by people who were actually present at that time… messages were meant to be urgent or from old friends who you've lost touch with. Well it didn't really work out that way. The mail boxes were soon over flowing with messages from 'deshi desparados' (exactly as khat as the phrase sounds) and comments ranged from pathetic to demeaning to absolutely outrageous!!

Thus ended the Hi5 fever that had spread like forest fire through the generation of youngsters. Its farewell was of course greatly assisted by the beginning of the new 'in' social site…yup it's Facebook that I'm talking about. It was initially started by the eight Ivy League universities in the US to improve contact and communication within their students. Later it was opened up to all universities and high schools in the US and finally to the rest of the world. Well the good thing about this particular site is the fact that you can choose the people who can view your profile. The maximum a stranger can see is a very tiny (2X2 cm) picture, name and country. Even amidst the people who you select to be a part of your friend circle you can authorize some to only be able to view your limited profile as opposed to the more personal one. Thus privacy level is certainly updated and made more flexible. Uploading picture files/folders are much easier and faster.

However according to some the simplicity and hence the sophistication of this particular site is being spoilt by an over load of very useless applications! Upgrading process from 'Poke' to 'Super Poke' to 'Poke Pro' doesn't appeal to many as any sort of REAL progress, on the contrary it appears to spoil the authenticity of the original 'Poke' feature (a process known in bangle known as pochay fela). A faithful Facebook user recalls with somewhat bitterness “the purpose was to inform member-students about events like reunions where thousands of invitations needed to be sent out or even share photos NOT to do Graffiti on people's walls saying 'ki khobor dosto??'” But to many these little things are perfectly harmless, even amusing and a good way to pass idle time. Even the innumerous applications may be passed off as 'improvements', which just goes to show the flip side of this particular debate.

For the time being the fans of Facebook certainly outnumber the critics. Until the time the opposite is true and another more 'hip' social networking site wins the heart of the capricious Teen, Facebook is certainly THE way to socialize.

By Aniqa Moinuddin

Welcome to Our World
The Fashion split

200 B.C
'Ogla!! Where are you? I want to show you the new collection of leaves I got for you' hollered Mother Golla. Ogla, hurried over as fast as her hulking frame let her, meanwhile chomping on a leftover Brontosaurus drumstick. 'Oh no! I didn't want leaves from the Coverup tree! I wanted leaves for my outfit from the peek-a-boo tree over there' cried Ogla pointing to a tree that had small scanty leaves. 'What? No way are you getting leaves from that crude tree. I'm going to tell Father Brute about this …I won't have it.' At this Ogla started her tantrums which weren't your usual kind but the type that force even underground bugs to cover their ears.

'But Ma! Didn't I tell you to make my winter dress out of cashmere? And what about the new puffy leaves that are all the rage?' stormed Mary to her mother as she furiously churned the butter. 'No Mary, no puffed sleeves. These new fangled fashions come and go but it doesn't mean you have to alter the way your dresses are made just because of them' replied her mother calmly as she set down the milk pails. Hearing this, Mary's face turned pink in colour and she quietly stopped churning. 'I'm done with the butter.' Saying this she flounced away with a swish of her skirts, daring to leave her chores incomplete.

'Steven!!! Steven! Come here right now and see what has happened to Mark' shrieked Donna as she stared at her son who had just returned from college for the summer. He had long shoulder length brown hair and a beard and was wearing sunglasses so large that they obscured his face plus a dyed loose shirt with bellbottoms. 'What's the matter mom? Don't you like my new outfit? I think it's just groovy.'

'Steven!' yelled Donna even louder. 'Where are you?!'

The above scenarios sound familiar? They should because every single generation of teens/adolescents go through this phase a stage I'd like to call the Fashion Split due to the difference in ideologies between parents and their kids on what the kids ought to wear. It's funny how children absolutely rely on their parents' tastes for clothes when they are young. But then they grow up a bit more, turn maybe 13 or 14 and bang! The fashion split takes place. Trends are hardly things you consider parents to follow and if you are a fashion conscious teen you'd probably disagree with your parents a lot on what you need to wear (unless your parents themselves encourage you to stay in style…something I've seen happen a few times). But even if you don't follow the trends and follow your own beaten track of style, you still tend to experience problems with your caretakers. Long hair, weird experimental hairstyles, low worn jeans, torn or ripped jeans/t-shirts may be fashion no-nos for parents who have sons and dyeing hair in colours like pink or purple, low worn jeans, tight t-shirts and short kameezes may be problems faced by girls although it differs from family to family. Things like piercing, tattooing and dyeing ones hair also tend to be things that parents frown upon especially if you want to pierce sensitive places like your tongue or controversial areas like your belly button(sigh, I tried).

Disagreements on fashion will always continue to occur and in some cases parents have the right to do so. They are wiser and would know better how society perceives our get-ups than we do. But it also wouldn't hurt to remind them now and then how they may have broken a few household rules in their own time when they wanted to pull off their own fashion statements.

By Nisma Elias

Aga Khan Football Scene

What is football? If you think it is just a game of 22 players with the objective of putting a football in the nets, then you are horribly mistaken. If you ever come to Aga Khan School, then you will see that football is not just a game of putting the ball in the net, but is also a platform to excel and realize out true potential.

Football is a game that has a place in the heart of every student in The Aga Khan School, from the nerds (who can't seem to find peace other than reading books, any book) to the girls (whose idea of football is cute guys running around) to the boys and bhaias. The school holds a lot of tournaments, Ex: AIFT (Aga Khan Interschool Football Tournament, or Principal's Cup).

In the Principal's Cup, teams from different classes compete with each other. The teams usually opt for weird names such as Zamindars, Gunda Boys, Powerpuffs, etc. The principal's cup matches are usually held in recess or ECA time. There are three rounds, first the qualifiers, which separate the kids from the boys and then the quarterfinals, which separate the boys from the men, and then the real tournament starts which attracts every body even if it means going home late and getting scolded. The winners are usually considered as idols in our school and the people don't normally stop talking about them. This year's champions were the Powerpuffs.

Charity tournaments are also held, like the one we had recently for the Acid Survivors Foundation. Students formed teams of 6 players and each player had to chip in 50 TK to play and the proceeds went to the Acid Survivors Foundation. This happens 1 or 2 times a year. It's good for the players as well and for good source of charity.

There are also tournaments for the girls who play good football or at least like the game. Although they're girls don't underestimate them, they became the runners up of many tournaments and also won some of them. Sometimes they make us laugh by their playing style and sometimes they mesmerize us with their stunning performance. We are always there to support our teams through joy and tears. There is obvious talent among all those who take part in these tournaments; some of them have even managed to emulate Maradona by surpassing a slew of other opponent players.

There is a trophy case full of trophies in our school and we're very proud of it as the players' earned it. I consider myself very lucky to be the member of this beautiful and talented family.

By Aquibur Rahman Khan


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