The story begins in a remote northerly village of Bangladesh where a boy merely past adolescence stands up against illiteracy, early marriage and drugs. Assembling an army of youth, he sets up Light of Hope where children and adults are educated for free. They stop early marriages and tell people about the dangers of addiction.
Sajeeb Wazed, ICT Adviser to Honorable Prime Minister
“The future of Bangladesh rests with the youth. Amazing to see that our youth no longer only think of their careers and businesses only; they think of their countrymen too. Therefore, Young Bangla aims to help these young people.”
Away from the spotlight, many such young men and women are changing lives, giving hopes, every day. With hearts full of courage and love for their country, they are overcoming daunting obstacles.
Young Bangla is an attempt to channel such vitality of youth towards building a prosperous Bangladesh. Launched in November 2014, Young Bangla is now the largest youth platform of the country, acting as a flexible space for the youth to come together into a network and collectively strive for achieving personal and national goals through sharing and cooperation.
With the motto “Connecting the Dots”, Young Bangla has become a launching pad for thousands of individuals and youth-led organizations, supporting them with resources, capacity enhancement trainings and encouragement, so that they can add all their game-changing ideas to the welfare of the nation.
The youth has to play a pivotal role in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Three out of four people in Bangladesh are below the age of 40 years. Bangladesh is currently in a ‘demographic window of opportunity,’ where the proportion of the working-age population is significantly higher than that of the dependent population. For the country to reap the benefits of this ‘demographic dividend’, it is imperative to invest in its youth. To achieve the Bangladesh Government’s long-term plans of Vision 2021 and Vision 2041, Young Bangla started its journey in 2014. Young Bangla engages young people with the national development process through capacity building, employability programs, and highlighting groundbreaking youth initiatives. Young Bangla is a platform that links the youth with the policymakers.
Young Bangla and CRI have initiated programs such as Let’s Talk and Policy Café. These programs are avenues for young people to impact policymaking. Young Bangla quickly learned that the urban youth in Bangladesh have more opportunities (ranging from attending seminars and workshops to participating in exchange programs) than their rural counterparts. The rural youth are lagging due to lack of opportunities, despite their creativity and enthusiasm. Thus Young Bangla started to bridge the rural-urban youth divide. It started to create opportunities for the youth to champions their aspirations.
During the inception period, from June 2013 to July 2014, Young Bangla organized a series of programs with youth-led organizations and youth networks across Bangladesh. The programs helped Young Bangla to figure out a new scope to work with the relevant stakeholders. In July 2014, a National Coordination Meeting was held at Dhaka University, where 120 youth organizations across the country were brought together for sharing their ongoing works and the challenges they faced.
After a series of successful interactions with various youth organizations, Young Bangla started its formal journey on November 14, 2014, with a launch at Radisson Water Blu Hotel, Dhaka. At the launch, 250 representatives of youth-led organizations from across Bangladesh participated. Thereby, Young Bangla adopted the motto “Connecting the Dots.” It has become an interactive space for thousands of young individuals and youth-led organizations. Young Bangla mentors and creates opportunities for young leaders to influence community development and nation-building.
WHAT WE DO
Joy Bangla Youth Award
In order to motivate young individuals and youth-led organizations, Young Bangla has been giving away the Joy Bangla Youth Award since 2015 to its members as a recognition for their outstanding contribution in categories such as community development, social inclusion, research and innovation, and business entrepreneurship. Young Bangla does not see this as a mere award for good work, but a process that can comprehensively scale up youth-led initiatives and link the youth with national policymaking. A total of 30 Young Bangla members got the award in 2015. Out of a staggering 1,500 applications, another 170 were given special recognition and certificates for their contribution. The award is preceded by a process of rigorous physical scrutiny of applications and success stories of Young Bangla members.
How often are fresh university graduates left wanting for the lack of experience when they face their first interviews? For the first time in history, Young Bangla has been arranging four-month internship programs for its meritorious members with the government’s ministries and reputed private sector companies. Since the inception of the Vision 2021 Internship program in June 2016, Young Bangla has so far arranged jobs, career trainings and internships for nearly 5,000 of its members. Public and private sector entities such as the Ministry of Power, Energy and Mineral Resources, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, ICT Division, Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics, Microsoft Bangladesh, Aamra Companies and TK Group have opened up the opportunities for the Young Bangla members.
Who can apply?
Any Young Bangla member aged 34 years or less, who is either a graduate or an undergrad at a recognized educational institution, can apply.
How to apply?
Interested Young Bangla members can apply by uploading their CVs/resumes to the Young Bangla website or emailing to [email protected].
Joy Bangla Concert
“Music can change the world because it can change people.” ― Bono, U2
Music has been an indispensable part of Bangladesh’s coming into being as a nation. Shadhin Bangla Betar Kendra, the rebel radio station, kept up the morale of both freedom fighters and the people of the war-ravaged country in 1971. The famous Concert for Bangladesh at Madison Square Garden in New York played the crucial role of building international opinion against the massacre inflicted by the Pakistan occupation army.
Rock music is known for speaking the language of exuberance and vitality of youth. From the thought that music can be the bridge between youth and the true history of the country, Young Bangla has been organizing the Joy Bangla Concert since 2015 on the anniversary of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’s historic 7th-March speech. The concert is not just a musical extravaganza; rather it’s a firm call upon every young mind who truly believes in the spirit of freedom with which the War of Liberation was fought in 1971 and which drove an entire generation of young souls to sacrifice their lives for independence.
Where’s the venue?
The Army Stadium in Dhaka is the permanent venue for the Joy Bangla Concert.
What’s the price of tickets?
Entry to the concert is totally free. Just register on the Young Bangla website with national ID, email and mobile phone number and get an electronically generated pass. The registration portal remains open for only a few weeks just before the concert.