Fifteen youth-led organisations were recognised for their outstanding contributions to five different fields at the Joy Bangla Youth Award (JBYA) 2021 held on Monday at the Sheikh Hasina National Institute of Youth Development in Savar.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, virtually addressing the ceremony in a pre-recorded message, said, "We are all proud of the fact that the young people have been fearlessly engaged in the welfare of human society even in the midst of a global pandemic."
Sajeeb Wazed Joy, the ICT adviser, also virtually addressed the event in a pre-recorded message.
The award categories were: climate and innovation; social inclusion; culture and communication; community wellness; and skill and employment.
In the Climate and Innovation category, the three who received the awards are Steps Ahead, The Tech Academy and EcoVation Bangladesh.
Reflective Teens, Gen Lab and Bangladesh Dushprappo Chobi Somogro were recognised in the Culture and Communication category.
The Bangladesh Tea Community Student Youth Council and Medhabi Kallyan Sangstha won under the Community Wellness category.
The Moner School, TransEnd and Third Eye were awarded in the Social Inclusion category.
Lastly, four youth organisations were conferred in the Skill and Employment category: Dhrubotara Youth Development Foundation (DYDB), Amal Foundation, Diner Alo Hijra Unnayon Mohila Songstha and Asmani Jubo Nari Foundation.
In his pre-recorded message, Sajeeb Wazed Joy said, "Let's all work together for the country [regardless of] how small or big our contributions are. I'm really proud that we have initiatives like Young Bangla who are working for the country."
In addition to the youth award this year, a special recognition, "Pathfinder of 50", styled after the celebration of 50 years of Bangladesh, was introduced to honour individuals or organisations who made notable contributions to the nation building of Bangladesh.
Elisabeth Fahrni Mansur and Rubaiyat Mansur Mowgli were conferred the "Pathfinder" of wildlife conservation and sustainability, Anjuman Mufidul Islam was honoured as "Pathfinder" of humanity, welfare of the people and the country and Mangal Shobhajatra was recognised as "Pathfinder" of heritage and culture owing to their post-independence nation building process.
The award-giving ceremony, anchored by renowned actor Chancal Chowdhury, began at 3:00pm. Taking to the stage, Chanchal inaugurated the programme with the national anthem of Bangladesh.
After that, the convener of Young Bangla, Nahim Razzaq, gave the inaugural speech.
Radwan Mujib Siddiq, the honourable trustee of Centre for Research and Information, Awami League's research wing, handed out the crests to the winning organisations.
Mujib Siddiq said, "On this day, I solemnly remember the sacrifice of the youths of 1971s. We now have an independent Bangladesh for their courage. And I am hopeful that Bangladesh's youth will continue working for the nation."
After the distribution of Joy Bangla Youth Award 2021, the event ended with a musical performance by popular band Meghdal.
Young Bangla is one of the largest youth platforms in Bangladesh and it has been hosting the award ceremony since 2015. The JBYA 2021 was the fifth instalment of the prestigious award.
Earlier, the award was conferred in 2015, 2017, 2018 and 2020.
Joy Bangla Youth Award is one of the flagship programmes of Young Bangla. The award acknowledges young change-makers, innovators, leaders and pioneers in different fields across the whole country. It recognises those who are working for their communities as well as the nation.
Here is a glimpse into the activities of the youths that turned around their communities-
Organisation Name: Dhrubotara Youth Development Foundation (DYDF)
Applicant's Name: Amiya Prapan Chakraborty (Arka)
After its establishment in 2000, Dhrubotara Youth Development Foundation (DYDF) has been working for the last 21 years for youth empowerment and better Bangladesh through various social activities. DYDF has expanded their activities across 44 districts and reached to help out about half a million people with the help of 48,000 youth volunteers. DYDF is working for marginalised people and minority rights.
Organisation Name: The Tech Academy
Applicant's Name: Mohammed Shams Jabber
The Tech Academy was founded in 2013 to gamify the education system. They are focused on nurturing kids aged 8 to 16 and leading them for the '4th Industrial Revolution' by teaching futuristic technology skills, such as animation, coding, game development, and robotics. Benefiting 1000+ students, The Tech Academy is the first-ever Bangladeshi school to open its international operations in Jakarta and San Francisco. They have represented Bangladesh on many global platforms.
Organisation Name: Asmani Jubo nari Foundation
Applicant's Name: Shirin Akther Asa
Asmani Jubo Nari Foundation has been working as an organisation for adolescent girls and young women since 2016. The founder herself is a child-marriage survivor. Since then she has been working and successfully stopped 294 child-marriages. The foundation is not only limited to awareness-raising, rather building capacity of women and making them established as entrepreneurs through training, workshop and work engagement so that they can be capable enough to stand against all discrimination, deprivation, inequality and gender-based violence. They have trained about 2,595 women on tailoring. They have also established a sanitary napkin producing factory of their own in the community which is helping at least 36 girls and young women to make their livelihood. They supply sanitary napkins to 5 schools. During the pandemic, they engaged more than 100 women and girls to meet their financial issues. They also distributed free masks, sanitizers and sanitary napkins to more than 5000 poor girls and women in the community.
Organisation Name: Amal Foundation
Applicant's Name: Esrat Karim
Amal Foundation started its journey in 2014 and since then it has been working in the remote Char areas of Bangladesh ensuring better livelihood, healthcare and quality education for vulnerable communities. Currently, Amal works with more than 52,000 beneficiaries in different villages of Bangladesh. Through their social business Azowa, they are generating income and getting social recognition. Azowa is generating $52,000 yearly and making sure women have social recognition and voice. Amal Foundation also has 3 pre-schools running for marginalised children. The founder was recognised by the "Forbes under-30 Asia".
Organisation Name: Third EYE
Applicant's Name: Masrur Ishraq
Third-EYE started its journey in 2019 with the slogan "Share the Responsibility". It is a voluntary organisation that deals with all problems of visually impaired students. They help such students by supplying university-level audiobooks or class records, arranging computer training, debate sessions, pronunciation training, and other vocational and personal skill development projects. They also help them find stenographers during their exams. Till now they have helped more than 400 visually impaired persons to make their lives easier.
Organisation Name: EcoVation Bangladesh
Applicant's Name: Sanjidul Alam Seban Shaan
EcoVation Bangladesh (formerly "Liter of Light Bangladesh") is a research and innovation-based social enterprise. Since its establishment in 2015, they have impacted 1, 50,000 lives with their innovation-focused volunteering approach. They helped about 90,000 people including Rohingya refugees with their volunteer-made water bottle lamp, bamboo bottle solar lamp, and streetlights. 3,000 underprivileged youths became solar engineers with their training. They installed 20+ solar-powered water purification systems free-of-cost that ensured clean water to more than 50,000 people, and trained hundreds of women on reusable pad making. Their renewable energy and green skill projects helped to reduce 3,250 metric tons of carbon emissions in Bangladesh and saved more than Tk3 crore in energy costs of their beneficiaries. They also have an anti- plastic project and awareness campaigns to achieve their goals.
Organisation Name: Bangladesher Dushprappo Chobi Somogro
Applicant's Name: Giridhar Dey
Bangladesher Dushprappo Chobi Somogro is a non-profit, voluntary organisation that aims at the socio-cultural development of the society. Since its establishment in 2016, it has been trying to create a digital archive of national history and culture and prevent the distortion of historical information. This platform is trying to protest against the communal violence and anti-independence forces. They have a collection of about 70,000 rare photos and are planning to initiate a 'Digital Museum' in the near future. They have almost 1.1 million followers on social media and their average reach is almost 1 lakh per post. They have arranged some live shows on the topic of liberation war and others as well. Alongside these, they are also working for social welfare.
Organisation Name: Steps Ahead
Applicant's Name: Shahana Afrin Dina
Steps Ahead was established in 2018 with the aim to work for the people of the coastal zone. Along with awareness-raising on gynecological health complexities and hygiene kits distribution programmes, they are leading several social-scientific innovation projects and conducting studies on salinity, migration, women and children's vulnerability. They are working for the marginalised population of coastal areas through MHM awareness-raising and 'hygiene kits' distribution programmes, training and development programmes (handicraft making, sewing, graphics designing), empowerment programmes (a project is running called home-factory where a female can engage themselves in income-generating activities from their home by making environment-friendly products) and education grant programmes especially for coastal youths.
Organisation Name: Moner School
Applicant's Name: Fairooz Faizah Beether
Moner School started off in 2018 as the first-ever Youth-led Mental health and wellbeing platform for the Youth. Initially, they started working with people aged 18-35, with time it has been diversified and is now for people aged 14 to 50. They provide counselling sessions to mass people, educate and equip them with mental health toolkits, emotional wellbeing literacy through training and workshops. In 2019, they organised the country's biggest workshop on "Mental Health Toolkit" at Khulna University with 130 young people. They have reached 11, 000 youths who contribute towards creating a non-judgmental community to share thoughts and problems and they are the pioneers of this. They have representatives in 35+ educational institutions to operate in those institutions, making a greater network throughout Bangladesh.
Organisation Name: TransEnd
Applicant's Name: Lamea Tanjin Tanha
TransEnd started its journey in 2018. It is a youth-led non-profit organisation which aims to bridge the gap between the transgender, hijra and gender-diverse community and the mainstream community through education, training, healthcare, employment and entrepreneurship. They arranged various online and offline sensitisation programmes, skill-development workshops, and awareness-building campaigns through which 345000+ general people have been sensitised, 185+ marginalised hijra people got skilled in different subjects and 124+ trans people have joined in mainstream jobs.
Organisation Name: Reflective Teens
Applicant's Name: Yusuf Ibne Yakub Munna
Reflective Teens was established in 2013 and over the last 8 years it has affiliated with many institutions around the world which includes organisations from the UK, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and Bhutan. This organisation has influenced over 100,000 creative teenagers. Being an organisation started by a teenager, it aims to bring out and incubate creativity to the fullest of this budding generation. It has successfully managed to catch attention both in the national and international arena.
Organisation Name: GenLab
Applicant's Name: Ratul Dev
Since 2015 Genlab has demonstrated core focus on 3 thematic areas. Peace and diversity are one of their core areas of work. They have reached more than 300, 000 people through their advocacy programmes on religious and communal harmony that pitched for social peace. They are also working in the area of climate change. Peace Caravan is one of their latest initiatives, which is an urban art and campaign-based programme to inspire and educate urban youths and professionals to adapt to inclusive and peaceful community living through means of art and digital presence.
Organisation Name: Diner Alo Hijra Unnyon Mohila Songstha
Applicant's Name: Abu Hasan (joyta Poly)
Diner Alo Hijra Unnyon Mohila Songstha is an organisation led by the transgender community of the Rajshahi division. It was established in 2002 and work with the aim of creating an inclusive society with non-discriminatory and accepting attitude in the context of Bangladesh. They are advocating among students and teachers to enable a hijra child to continue his/her studies in a mainstream educational institute. This organisation has been providing training to the transgender to become self-dependent. They have influenced many hijra who have now become entrepreneurs. They are also trying to arrange jobs for them. Alongside the transgender community, they also assist marginalised people (women, disabled, and aged) to get enlisted in social safety net programmes. They have almost 900 direct beneficiaries.
Organisation Name: Bangladesh Tea Community Student Youth Council
Applicant's Name: Rigan Kumar Kanu
After its establishment in 2014, this organisation is working in the tea state region of Habiganj- near the border of Bangladesh. They started its battle against the drug addiction of locals by raising awareness through presentations, campaigns, leaflets and posters. They organise quiz competitions and encourage students to carry forward their studies. They are providing guidance related to university admission tests, accommodation and food support to candidates, helping them by raising funds for university admissions, giving free computer training to help the youths in pursuing their dream of higher studies and employment.
Organisation Name: Medhabi Kallyan Sangstha (MKS)
Applicant's Name: Md. Nurul Alam
Medhabi Kallyan Sangstha (MKS) was established in 2012 to help under-privileged students who face hurdles to continue their studies due to financial restraints. This organisation provides food, clothing, scholarships (monetary help) among the poor students of the Chillmaria and Kurigram region. Besides, his team provides extra lessons and guidance to early grade students. So far, 14 students have got the opportunity to study in public universities including DU, RUET, Begum Rokeya, BU, Haji Danesh University, Khulna Agricultural University and 5 students in government nursing institutes through incentive scholarships. They have also facilitated 2 girls to get enrolled in BKSP. MKS has helped about 376 students to continue their studies in different phases.