The young, positive minded and inspiring agent of change, Ejaj Ahmad has made it unquestionably clear that anything is possible. Despite risks and obstacles, Ejaj never lost hope and with a clear goal started his venture 2.5yrs ago – Bangladesh Youth Leadership Center (BYLC). BYLC’s mission was to train the youth of Bangladesh to become great leaders and be a part in accomplishing Ejaj’s dream – a poverty free Bangladesh. In this short span Ejaj has managed to captivate the youth, equipped them with hopes, aspirations and strengths to overcome difficulties and build a stable and better Bangladesh.
BYLC’s volunteers in action: http://www.paragon100.asia/index.php/component/content/article/57-bangladesh/175-ejaj-ahmad
Bangladesh Youth Leadership Center:
Speaking to Payal on his center, Ejaj said, “BYLC’s strength is in leadership education which trains leadership skills to the youth that will enable them to become better citizens for today and future. Community service component exists because BYLC wishes to give students a chance to test their skills in a real world setting.”
The leadership program of BYLC concentrates on three aspects:
Building Bridges: To bridge the gap between students by unifying them and work in harmony from diverse educational (English, Bengali, Madrassa), socio-economic and religious backgrounds.
Leadership Training: The volunteers are taught leadership skills through classroom discussions and group reflective classes. They are taught that leadership is not only about dominance and authority but about bringing positive changes in the society by being dynamic citizens.
Community Service: “In addition to capacity building, one other important component of our program is to translate the learning into action,” Ivdad A. K. Mojlish, currently the Director of Youth Leadership programs explains. The skills and knowledge taught in the previous sessions are applied in real life. These are done by tackling developmental challenges through small service projects in poor areas of Bangladesh.
Ivdad adds, “The need for a collective, compassionate and courageous youth community is the clarion call of the hour. Leadership also entails courage, perseverance and compassion. BYLC envisions creating an inclusive, tolerant and just society through instilling values of leadership in the youth.”
Building Bridges through Leadership Training (BBLT) initiatives:
BBLT teams are comprised of positive minded, inspiring and young volunteers who are Bangladesh’s future. Coming together from different socio-economic backgrounds, the volunteers are compassionate towards a better tomorrow.
Till date five BBLT programs (4 BBLT and 1BBLT Junior) have been successfully implemented in Bangladesh. While BBLT 1, 2 and 3 ran for only a month with optional follow up, BBLT 4 and 5 ran for four months. The BBLT volunteers visited the slum areas and interacted with the impoverished people. The actions undertaken by the confident and socially-conscious young minds have been in the areas of:
- Health awareness campaigns – The volunteer teams distributed first aid kits and free medicines to the locals (the medicines had been provided by pharmaceuticals). An awareness program was carried out on the risks of Hepatitis B in Monohardi and information was given about other common diseases and treatments in other areas. Sanitation and hygiene awareness campaigns (personal hygiene, waste disposal and personal cleanliness concepts) were carried out. Two doctors were brought to Korail to provide free medical services to 60 families.
- Uplifting women – A skill called ‘Karchoopi’ which is a process of embellishing clothes was taught to women from deprived families in Mirpur. In Korail, another 25 women were provided training on mushroom cultivation. Both these activities were carried out to help them boost their individual income. Awareness campaigns were led on gender bias, dowry, acid violence and marriage of under aged girls.
- Launch of volunteer schools – Free books and writing material was distributed to children along with providing 5 dustbins, 3 water filters and 12 brooms to schools. Campaigns were also led on low cost filter systems like solar disinfection. Importance of water borne diseases was taught to children and parents.
Other programs led by volunteers have been in the areas of:
- Set up of garbage bins (13 in Boubazaar area), new toilets, shower
systems and cover for the existing bathing areas.
- Disaster management and environmental remediation
- Development of domestic water filtration systems in Mirpur (teaching the
importance of boiled and filtered water, how to make water filters which
would give arsenic-free water, awareness on water borne diseases).
- Repairs of dilapidated bamboo pathways in Mirpur for a safe environment.
- Establishment of a community learning and development center.
The BBLT junior team which comprised of volunteers from age 12 and above led awareness campaigns on basic child rights and child labor rights. They also dealt with issues on resource management, health and hygiene.
The changes brought about by the BBLT volunteers are then monitored and controlled by the locals. There has been a great change in the comprehension and perception of the locals whose lives have been improved by the BYLC volunteers.
Indicating the success of BBLT, more enterprises have been launched by the graduates of BYLC:
A 16-year old has started a community service organization called ‘Youth for the Community’ which provides relief to underprivileged people in Dhaka.
A group in Chittagong has started ‘Karushilpo’, a handicraft production initiative that employs underprivileged women and gives them the opportunity to earn. Another graduate has launched a program to prepare english medium students for admission in Dhaka University.
BBLT program details:
BYLC intends to concentrate on Dhaka and Chittagong for now and later cover other divisions in Bangladesh. It is emerging as the hub for creating a positive change in the minds of the society of Bangladesh through leadership and active citizenship. Today Ejaj and BYLC empowers and enables the youth to face problems cheerfully, be hopeful and work as a team towards establishing Bangladesh as a leader on the world map.
If you are in Bangladesh and wish to contribute towards bringing about a positive change in your society, get in touch with BYLC. The BYLC team headed by Ejaj will be more than glad to assist you in your endeavor. Check out the BYLC site for more information on its activities:
As a freelance writer Payal is passionate about making a positive impact in the society through her work. Her writing expertise lies in various subjects such as travel, education, careers, history, flora and fauna, health etc. With a Masters in Business Administration and corporate sector exposure behind her, she always had the desire to volunteer and help people which led to write for the YL magazine. A busy mother of a beautiful daughter, she likes to read in her free time.