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Shebar maddhome bijoyer prokash
Celebrating Victory through volunteerism

What do we do every year? On the 16th of December? Skim through dust-covered boxes and take out that red and green flag, hang it on our balconies, on our corners. Maybe wear some red and green too when going out. Go out somewhere- Dhaka University, Smriti Shouddho, etc.

For one day of the year. Does that make us patriotic? Does that make us good countrymen? Or does that make us just a bit of a hypocrite? Does that make us just a bit fake? Look back 38 years ago. Nine long months our ancestors and forefathers fought the war, and the actual struggle began much earlier.

Victory Day, Independence Day, 21st February- they've all become excuses for us to dress up, look pretty, smile and take pictures at historical places. Not this year. At least not entirely.

Jafir bhai , a Bangladeshi living abroad, suggested a brilliant idea. This year, on the 16th of December or dates round about, why don't we celebrate by helping those in need? Through volunteerism? Thus came the slogan, “Shebar maddhome bijoyer prokash” or Celebtrating Victory through Volunteerism”. Two local organizations took it up, viz CommunityAction and 1° Initiative.

And these two took up the task of getting more organizations under this one unifying slogan. It didn't take long for other non-profit organizations to take up the slogan. But the amazing thing is, it wasn't only the community service organizations. Even corporate companies took up the slogan, such as Adcom, iShowbiz and Akij. And if that's not enough, even a Rickshaw Garage partipcated. Yes. A Rickshaw Garage. That's not a company. It's a place where Rickshaw-pullers keep their rickshaws. To be specific the Rickshaw Pullers at Akhalia, Neharipara in Sylhet helped in distributing free medicines to more than a 100 of their colleagues.

One banner, 42 organizations. From the richest to the poorest, they all participated, and they all did something for country, however little. It would be demeaning if the names of the organizations weren't mentioned. So, here they are:

Rickshaw Garage, Labaid Group, Adcomm, IBA - Dhaka University, Akij Group, iShowbiz, Ibn Sina, United International University, Bangladesh Medical College, CommunityAction (CA), 1° Initiative, Agami, CA-Lakkhipur, CA-Sirajgonj, CA-Sylhet, MNA Barristers & Advocates, Finding Bangladesh, Oggro School, Jaago Foundation, Sandhani BMC, Sandhani SOMC, AISEC of BRAC University, AIESEC in IUB, Mastermind Community Service Club, Maple Leaf Community Service Club, Shandeepon, AIM Charity Foundation, Tori, Fantasia, Physically-Challenged Development Foundation, Apon School, South Asian Youth Society, Shishu Bikash Kendro, Prochestha Foundation, Bangladesh Medical Students' Society, Bangladesh Youth Leadership Center, Rotaract Clubs (in Sylhet), University of Toronto's Bangladeshi Students' Association (Canada), Ryerson University's Bangladesh Students' Assocation (Canada), Bangladeshis from Reed College's (USA), Bangladeshis in Germany, Trondheim (Norway's Bangladesh Cultural Organization).

That's a pretty big list, and a very big achievement for CommunityAction, 1° Initiative and everyone involved to make this year a little bit different, for helping to improve the lives of a few people, even if by a little bit. For all those people, this year's 16th of December was not a day to look pretty and smile at the camera. For once, it really was a Victory Day. And hopefully, the first of many more to come.

On 16th of December, 42 organizations helped thousands and thousands of people in need. What are you doing on the next 16th of December?
By Emil



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