How young people are supporting communities amid Covid

The youth of Bangladesh have acted as agents of social transformations in their communities during the Covid pandemic. The words of appreciation for the youth have come from the city’s civic authorities as well as non-government bodies.

“During Covid-19, the youth of Bangladesh have shown the transformation they are capable of implementing in their communities. Their participation is critical in developing our nation post-Covid-19,” Md Atiqul Islam, the Mayor of Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC), said.

The civic body chief made the remarks at the opening ceremony of the BYLC Virtual Youth Carnival 2020, organised by Bangladesh Youth Leadership Center, on Saturday.

Speaking at the event, Shaheen Anam, Executive Director of Manusher Jonno Foundation (MJF), also lauded the role of youth in creating a progressive impact during the pandemic.

“Youth have shown the power of transformation during Covid-19 through their actions and their work for their communities. Now we have to think about the resources and benefits that we can give to them so that they are able to give back to their communities in a stronger manner,” Anam said.

In light of the ongoing pandemic, the day-long carnival, supported by MJF and Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) of the UK Government, was held virtually and participated by over 5,000 youths aged between 15 and 30 years.

Through their stories, the speakers and participants expressed how the youth are initiating social changes in Bangladesh, regardless of whether they are studying in a school in a remote area of the country, or working for an international organisation situated abroad, a release said.

Speakers at the event also emphasised on the importance of teamwork and critical thinking skills in innovating impactful social initiatives.

“We need to come out of the ‘meritocracy’ mindset. From my experience, the most productive teams consist of people who may have mediocre grades but have great teamwork, problem-solving, and analytical skills,” said scientist Senjuti Saha of Child Health Research Foundation, Bangladesh.

In his session on ‘Asking “Why?”: The Significance of Critical Thinking’, Chamok Hasan, writer, online instructor and R&D Engineer at Boston Scientific Corporation, said, “The main goal of critical thinking is to process the knowledge we gain from our surroundings and take objective decisions based on that knowledge, rather than what any person has to say.”

Addressing the youth participants, Mirza Salman Hossain Beg, Vice President, DTAC, Thailand, said, “You have to come out of your comfort zone. Try to learn something new every month. You will then find yourself more equipped to fight any uncertainty in life.”

Participants at the carnival gained insights on making a mark on the global platform, practicing adaptive leadership during crises, acting as key influencers in policy making, and other youth issues prevalent in today’s society.

A session with Bangladeshis based abroad showcased how they chartered new paths, overcame obstacles, and thus continue to impact change in their home country.

Pavel Sarwar, co-founder and president of Youth Hub, Malaysia, said, “I started from a small town in Bangladesh and now I am one of the founders of a software company and a youth organisation in Malaysia. Despite not being proficient in English or even lacking certain skills, I have been able to create an impact because of my perseverance.”

Speakers at the carnival also included Mashrur Rabbi Enan, singer and founder of the viral Keto Bhai movement, Mohammad Tauheed, founding curator of Global Shapers Dhaka; Shams Jaber, founder of the Tech Academy, Palki Ahmad of the Ontario Youth United Project, and Mowmita Basak Mow, co-founder of Ithika.

The event also featured performances by popular musicians, Elita Karim, Fairooz Nazifa, and Tapesh Chakraborty.