The Shawn Mendes Foundation, founded by global superstar and musician Shawn Mendes, has teamed up with a Bangladeshi NGO, Footsteps Foundation, to ensure safe water in schools across the country through the acclaimed Project Trishna.
It made the disclosure on Thursday through the announcement of the names of Wonder Grants recipients, including the Bangladeshi NGO.
The grants are given to young change-makers and creatives who are wondering in service of others and using their voice, vision, or abilities to change the world for the better.
Wonder Grants are designed to help young activists with big ideas, but insufficient resources, launch or complete innovative projects across a range of fields including music, film, human rights, education, science, environment, and technology.
Among those named was Shah Rafayat Chowdhury, co-founder, and president of Footsteps, a next generation organisation founded with the goal of empowering marginalised communities across Bangladesh.
"It gives us great pleasure to announce that Shawn Mendes is partnering up with Footsteps to ensure safe water in schools across Bangladesh! The Shawn Mendes Foundation has selected us as a recipient of its Wonder Grant for Project Trishna, through which we will set up safe water systems in schools within marginalised communities and provide safe water for children across Bangladesh", read a post shared by Footsteps on their Facebook page.
"A big thank you to Shawn and his foundation for believing in our mission, as we strongly believe together we'll ensure safe water as a basic right for all in Bangladesh.
Shoutout to Gabriela Jaeger and the entire Global Changemakers team for making this possible, You guys are incredible!," the post continued.
The organisation has worked tirelessly to support hundreds of marginalised communities in overcoming social challenges by building their capacity and potential.
The main social ventures of the organisation are Project Trishna, Disaster Resilience Programme, Energise the Chain, and Project WECan.
Project Trishna aims to address barriers to safe water and sanitation in marginalized communities by not only implementing WASH facilities such as drinking water systems, handwashing stations, and gender equity toilets, but also by training the community on how to maintain these resources both technically and financially.
The Disaster Resilience Program (DRP) is designed to address the challenges posed by natural and social disasters by providing food, water, medicine, and hygiene materials in disaster-affected areas, as well as through providing disaster warning mechanisms, climate-resilient housing, portable water filters, and agricultural support schemes for farmers.
The goal of Energise the Chain is to create proper cold chain facilities in rural areas to ensure that important vaccines reach people, particularly children. Under this social venture, vaccine refrigeration units are strategically put in place near rural health institutions like clinics and pharmacies in Bangladesh and are connected to a solar grid to ensure the continuous flow of power for vaccine refrigeration in areas where electricity is a rare privilege.
Footsteps, on the other hand, wants to strengthen infrastructure and community awareness of effective and efficient waste management schemes, such as waste segregation, recycling, and waste contamination protection, through Project WECan (Waste Eradication Can).
Other than these, the organisation, since 2013, has worked on numerous projects such as Heartwarming Winter, Project Britto, and Fempower.
The Wonder Grant received by Footsteps Bangladesh shall be used to further the objectives of Project Trishna and increase its reach across the country. Thus far, it has been implemented in 5 districts and around 75,000 people are being benefited on a daily basis.
Shah Rafayat Chowdhury, who is also the recipient of the prestigious Diana Award, stated the following on the significance of receiving the Wonder Grant: "The Wonder Grant would not only directly help us ensure safe water access in challenging areas where we've been trying to work for a while, but also inspire others to come forward and join our mission in fulfilling the thirst of the masses. Such a large scale challenge can only be solved together, which is why I welcome everyone to be a part of Trishna and ensure safe water as a basic right for all in Bangladesh".
Upon approaching Barrister Mohammad Taqi Yasir, Vice President of Footsteps Bangladesh, about his comments on the Wonder Grant, he replied that "The Footsteps Bangladesh Board including Shah Rafayat Chowdhury, Fasbeer Eskander and myself and the entire team are psyched and inspired by this achievement." When questioned about the use of the grant, he added that "the Wonder Grant shall be used to set up large-scale water systems and drinking stations in schools in Sylhet."