Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Thursday, January 1, 2009

By Sadia Islam and Ehsanur Raza Ronny

Forbidden apples have a history of being eaten despite being strictly forbidden. Red buttons that specifically ask 'Not To Be Pressed' are pressed. Promises, as the popular saying goes, are made to be broken. And new year's resolutions are no different. They are made to be kept and hence the opposite is done. They are filed away in a corner of the mind possibly to be renewed next year.

That's the complex human psyche in a nutshell. We don't like to do what we should. Finishing the exam syllabus on time, paying the bill and changing the water in the fish tank before needing to change the fish. Others worry about losing weight, cleaning up a room or finishing an article due last year such as this one. That's what the majority of us humans are like. We all make resolutions. We resolve to do things that need to be done. But some of us (most of us) fail at continuing with the promises. Studies show that most year-long resolutions last only up to February. In fact, four out of five people WILL break them. It's depressing enough to set off making any such promises to self. But then, some do manage to achieve the impossible.

Endless options
When the end of a year comes around, these 'things-to-be-done' things take on an unprecedented feeling of hope. You've passed one whole year being the slothful, procrastinating self that you are. But the beginning of a new year seems like a good place to start. There's a saying, if you fail once, try a hundred times. At the beginning of a year, there are 365 tries on hand.

Spread the word
Resolutions are more difficult to hold together than celebrity marriages. Experts say there are many ways to handle the former. Some say to write it down or tell a friend who will remind and nag. But nobody pays attention to nags until something goes wrong and then they nag about how they told us so. It is believed that telling someone close will provide support and motivation. The more people you tell, the better your chances are towards achieving your goals.

Planning to fail
The worst offender is setting goals that are too high. Experts suggest breaking down the goal into manageable chunks. It's great to resolve to solve world hunger but that's a huge task even with 365 days at hand. Start by feeding the stray dog in your area. Or better yet, feed the homeless. Start one person at a time.

What's more difficult than solving world hunger is for people who want to reduce their weight on account of unrelenting hunger. Weight reduction is the most listed New Year's wish worldwide. Break down the goal into smaller, doable chunks. Promise yourself to only two spoons of ice cream at a party. Don't over promise by resolving to avoid all sweets forever. If that's not possible, get stressed. Stress reduces weight but then some people handle stress by overeating. Choose your vice, make a detailed plan or better yet, get a nagging spouse.

Press F1
Quitting smoking is one of the top two resolution list toppers. There's many different ways to quit and it's all available on the internet. There's plenty of sites, forums and blogs that discuss different methods. You want to save more money or stop biting your nails by the end of the year? Just Google it. Of course, if visiting unusual sites is the problem you want to change for a new year, better throw out that PC.

Wear rose tinted glasses
Plans are made to fail or at the least suffer serious glitches. Remain flexible enough to change things when something does not work right. Modify your resolution. And most importantly, give yourself time. Thing's you don't want to do but should won't happen overnight. But a positive attitude is the key to making things happen. If nothing else, that attitude will help you feel good about another new year coming up where you can try all over again.

By Hitoishi Chakma

Living the good life and being successful is so much easier, compared to working to turn the lives around of the less fortunate. Many choose to not do anything about it and only a precious few choose not to ignore. It was amazing that, among these precious few we were able to find a few Bangladeshi youngsters, toiling for causes they believe in. Yes, they could have kept on living like it didn't really matter to them but the fact is they didn't. Today we present to you a few of the youth organizations - found and run by youths - working for causes ranging from financing orphanages to educating underprivileged kids.

One Degree Initiative
The name says a bit about this community service organization. The founders believe that small changes made by an individual can trigger social development and eventually help the whole society. While discussing why 1di was initiated, Sabhanaz Rashid, one of the founding members, said, “We were inspired by watching our seniors do community service and realized there was little platform outside school for people to do anything. So, we started 1dI.” The organization largely works with kids since it believes that they are tomorrow's leaders and if motivated the right way, they are the ones who'll contribute to development in the future.

Even though it is run mostly by sixteen to twenty year olds, the organization is breaking boundaries and is now working on a Leadership Training Workshop, in Jessore.

Among its various projects is one where they collect books and donate those to schools for underprivileged children. Aalok Shishu Shikkhaloy in Agargaon and Ekmattra in Mirpur have been the beneficiaries of this project.
Website: www.1di.org
Email: 1d.initiative@gmail.com

Help Our People Empathize or Hope was started by the students, faculty members and alumni of Independent University Bangladesh (IUB) in April 2006 as a platform for the students of IUB to engage in community service work, which is now open to absolutely anyone who wishes to get involved. One of its prime objectives is to organize charity events and raise funds for important causes and also to collaborate with other NGOs. At the beginning Hope worked extensively for street children and also collaborated with Streetwise an NGO working for street children. There is also a scholarship program run by Hope where they pay for the education of meritorious but poor students. And only recently they were able to successfully plan and arrange an Iftar that was meant to raise funds to buy toys and clothes for the children of Shishu Hospital's non-paying ward.

Sabrina Ahmad, spokesperson for Hope, when asked about their current projects said, “We currently have a correspondence program with the senior citizens of an old home in Gazipur where we write to them and basically maintain contact.” And besides Hope is also in the habit of arranging discussions that are meant to make the youth more aware about the history of Bangladesh and its independence.

Project Bangladesh Foundation
One of the most well known youth organizations of Bangladesh, Project Bangladesh started their journey with the Amra Bangladesh wristbands. These red and green wristbands, not only seen as a symbol of patriotism but also of unity, inspired the youth of Bangladesh to be proactive and be assertive about their beliefs.

Founded in the summer of 2005 by five friends, Project Bangladesh has worked for several charities and causes, including orphanages, the Acid Survivours Foundation, International Center for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh (ICDDR,B) and for SIDR relief. But this organization is not only a charity. Rafaan Seraj, one of the founding members, reiterated that the real aim of PBF is to be a creative and socially responsible enterprise and work to create new ideas, businesses, products and services, targeted especially to the youth. Rafaan Seraj observed, “We believe that it is only by creating and encouraging new initiatives and new businesses that we will bring about positive changes in our communities.” And following on that belief in 2006 they created the competition titled Project dYouth that turned out to be a huge success.
Website: www.project-bangladesh.com
Email: info@project-bangladesh.com

Jaago Foundation
Jaago solely exists to give the underprivileged children a better chance in life. Initiated on April 2007 by a group of young students, this charitable organization focuses on battling malnutrition and illiteracy among the underprivileged and poverty stricken children of Bangladesh. And as of now it has managed to successfully initiate an English medium school that is free of cost on November 29, 2007. The founders of Jaago largely believe in education being the fundamental right that needs to be fulfilled regardless of age, gender or social class.

Among its various programs, Jaago has one where any one can sponsor a child from its school. Korvi Rakshand, one of the founders stressed, “We send each sponsor updates about the child he or she is sponsoring, so the sponsor knows of the child's progress.” Korvi, describing how the students for the school are picked, said, “We actually go to the child's home personally and see for ourselves if the child needs our help and then take necessary measures to enroll the child in our school.” Currently the school has eighty children and seventy sposonsors.

Operating largely with the help from volunteers from different backgrounds Jaago now even has a program where they are teaching adults basic Math, English and computer skills under the title, 'Adult Development Program'. Right now almost twenty volunteers are working with Jaago.
Website: www.jaago.com.bd
Email: info@jaago.com.bd

Billy Joe Armstrong, when asked why Green Day came to be once said, “It's better than laying bricks.” It might seem much more inviting to spend your spare times at home socializing over the internet, but you will be amazed to find that working for something that you believe in is a lot more satisfying and fulfilling. Most of the organizations mentioned above would not turn you away if you want to get involved, and we recommend that you stop with the 'brick business' and contact them asap!



home | The Daily Star Home

2009 The Daily Star