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Shopno Dakho: Realizing the dream of the most vulnerable

Youth of Bangladesh are known for their sacrifice and enthusiasm for social service. There has never been any shortage of dreamer cum activist in our society.

Zahir Iqbal grew up listening to the stories of the liberation war of 1971. Therefore, he always felt deep love for the country and pondered about how to do something for the country and people from his childhood.

He started providing free education to the street children in his college campus back in 2009. Zahir says, “we went on with facilitating free education programs for the street and underprivileged children”. He received huge response from the society and number of students increased to 300 within a very short span of time.

The journey of Shopno Dakho Social Welfare Organisation started officially on March 28, 2013 in two small rooms of Khorki in Jessore. The members of Shopno Dekho initially carried the office rent and other expenses.

The have commenced various programs under 11 broad sectors (evoking the historic 11 sectors of the 1971 war of independence) namely – Shopno Dakho School for Disabled and Rehabilitation Center, Computer Projonmo Bivag, Muktijuddho Janar Juddho, Shopno Dakho Gano-Pathagar, Samaj-seba Unnayan Bivag, Abacus Computer and Training Center, Shopnobuni Handicrafts, Khadyo o Krishi Bivag, Jonakir Mela Pathshala, and Michael Modhusudan Debate Federation for the development of helpless, disabled, women, children, and youth.

The organization have been working relentlessly, distributing winter clothes, education materials, providing basic education, training on drawing and recitation, relief camps, campaigning on health and sanitation in different parts of Jessore district. So far they have supported 21 physically-challenged children and organised debate competitions in 87 educational institutions. Currently, it has over 100 active members who are working tirelessly in different programmes.

Zahir also coordinates the operation of thirty-eight Sheikh Russel Digital Labs (SRDL) in Jessore district, a project launched by ICT Division.

Besides, its regular social welfare activities, Shopno Dakho also works for the development of nature and environment. The members of the organization have been organizing various activities including tree plantation programme, fisheries release, and cleanliness drive under Garbage Recycling Project taken by the organization.

Shopno Dakho Social Welfare Organisation has been awarded with Joy Bangla Youth Award 2017 for its contributions in building an inclusive and just society.

Zahir Iqbal in his immediate response after receiving the award said, recognition of their work by a platform like Young Bangla will inspire him and his co-workers to work with more dedication in future. “This award is not for the organisation but for those who tirelessly work to build the society each day,” he added.

With a meticulously drafted future plan, the organization now looks forward to work with the large Young Bangla network and serve the vulnerable communities in more effective manner.