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  • Email: atmzakir@gmail.com
  • An organization for children, environment and development

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    Asafulla can Learn through Play

    Asafulla, son of Late Azam Gazi, is 8 years old and his mother name is Sayera Khatun. He lives at Patherkhali of Uttar Betkashi Union of Koyra Upazila under Khulna district. He also had a sister aged approximately 12 years and was a student of Class-VI who unfortunately died in 2006. They were severely affected by cyclone AILA and were leading miserable lives with the limited income of his mother. She works with different local development interventions as a laborer to maintain the family from hand to mouth. In the recent times, his mother is working for Work Program and getting regular wages. Asafulla registered himself into CFS center located at Young Brothers Club in Uttar Betkashi and he has been attending regularly. CFS is the center for children affected by cyclone AILA and it aims to supply balance nutritional diet to poor children whose families were affected during devastating cyclone AILA and to develop these children’s schooling habit.
    To express his feeling Asafulla said “I am very interested to participate into the CFS for its excellent environment as I can learn through play also can take balance diet at least every day and can share food with family at night”.

    Kakali in good environment

    Kakali is the daughter of late Asadullak and mother Kulsum Begum. She aged approximately 7 years and lives at Uttar Betkashi village of Union-Koyra at Upazila-Koyra under Khulna district. Her father was a mason who died in 2007 while engaged in his professional works at Dhaka, during that time Kakali was only 4 years old. Her mother returned to her father’s house and lives there after the death of her husband. Kakali’s Grandfather is working with a fish processing centre and earns BDT 2000.00 per month and maintains the family consisting 4 members with hand to mouth from his very limited income. Kakali has lost her brother 5 months ago as he was suffering from pneumonia. Kakali is a student of class-II of Modinabad Govt. Primary School. Her grandmother is engaged as assistant cook for the Child Friendly Space and earns BDT. 2500.00 per month. As a result Kakali’s name was enrolled in the CFS and she started to participate regularly and now she is enjoying the days of CFS and learned a lot.
    Kakali mentioned that “I enjoy the hours at the centre and also learnt many things by participating in different activities of the centre”.

    Pea Khatun follows class routine of her school

    Paea Khatun, 13, is a student of Shishu Kendra. Her father Habil Sikdar is a day laborer and mother is a housewife. They live in Ramnagar village of Rupsa Upazila under Khulna district. Her family runs with a little income of his father. She is an autistic child. From her childhood neither she can talk clearly nor understand others. Her parents were worried about her future. Considering her abnormality their parents started to neglect her and did not take special care to her child as she was needed. They did not feel Pea can go to school and study. After being informed about Shishu Kendra as a school of autistic children, run by JJS, her parents enrolled Pea to Shishu Kendra on 11 June 2006. Now she is in primary advanced class. She practices Physical exercise, can write alphabets in Bengali and English and practices cultural activities like singing, dancing, drawing etc. in school. After being in school she has progressed much. Now she is regular in school and obeys all rules. She follows the class routine of school. She likes to remain clean and now Pea’s parents are pleased with her progress. They take special care and behave well. Pea wants to do jobs in future.

    Unrevealed Story of Freedom Fighter Abdus Salam

    About 1.5 kilometers ahead to north from Fakirhat Upazila Sadar, there is a rail-crossing in the village. There is a brick soling road passing rightward from the crossing; this road leads to the house of freedom fighter Abdus Salam (55), right before the three roads’ intersection.
    Abdus Salam pulls a pedal driven van and earns living for his family consisting of 4 members. Other than his only daughter (17) already married, he has a son of 20 years but the son does not do anything for earning. Abdus Salam’s house is erected on a 3 Katha piece of land; the two-room house is built by mud, one room is used for cooking and the other for living. In 1971 Abdus Salam had participated in the liberation war of Bangladesh under sector 9. He bears a credential approved (signed) by the commander in chief of the liberation war.
    The government has introduced the ‘Freedom Fighter Honorarium’ to show respect for the great freedom fighters so that the ever heroes need not to starve for food. Till now there’ve been three listing of freedom fighters performed but Abdus Salam, such a poor guy, didn’t get included into any one, he does not know why. He had contacted his UP and Upazila Parishad several times but everything ended as vainly attempt just because the UP could not employ adequate effort for him. At a stage he was really frustrated and had no desire for getting a freedom fighter honorarium. In such circumstance, dated April 16, 2008 he partook in a courtyard meeting arranged in the house of Najma Begum of the same village by JJS-GPM project and articulated his disappointment in the discussion session: “I am a freedom fighter; in spite of having an authentic credential, I am not getting the honorarium”. As an immediate response, the JJS representative present there took note of him and discussed the case in JJS office. Abdus Salam was again invited in another courtyard meeting in August20, 2008 so that he could present his facts before the Union Manobadhikar Jote representatives present in the meeting. This time Abdus Salam was high-spirited; he was really thinking of something to be happened in his favor. Well then, he performed his plaintiff-role and the Union Manobadhikar Jote representatives paid sincere heed to him; they decided to present Abdus Salam’s story in a public hearing so that the service providers are questioned in front of the service beneficiaries and Abdus Salam gets a satisfactory resolution. Accordingly, in July 21, 2009, Abdus Salam attended a public hearing based on local government’s social services in the Attaka Keramat Ali Pilot High school premises and presented his allegation for a freedom fighter honorarium before the distinguished guests like Upazila Vice-chairman Sheikh Mijanur Rahman, Upazila social services officer Md. Ruhul Amin Sheikh and UP member Sheikh Saiful Islam (ward no. 3). The respected guests assured Abdus Salam in reply that they should do something in favour of him. At the same time, Abdus Salam wrote an application through Upazila Manobadhikar Jote to the following address: Convener, Central Command Council, Bangladesh Muktijoddha Shangdshad, 393-New Iskatan road, Dhaka in August 17, 2009; He also sent copies to the Upazila Parishad so that he would be included in the list of freedom fighters and access the government-provided honorarium. In reply to this, quite optimistic something happened then; he received a check of BDT 5000.00 from the Central Command Council, Bangladesh Muktijoddha Shangdshad in November 11, 2009. Now he expects that when there will be a next listing, his name will be there on the freedom fighters gazette.
    Getting the money check, Abdus Salam is on cloud nine, in fact this is the first time he has ever received any sort of allowance on account of being a freedom fighter. He articulates: “Manobadhikar Jote has let me tell of me on the proper stage before the perfect guys, what my years’ knocking around could not produce, and for what, today I am an allowance receiver.” Abdus Salam also accused with regret the local government in his last few words: “If the government took note of me from the beginning, maybe I wouldn’t need to earn my bread by pulling a van today.”

    One’s awareness can establish some other’s right

    Maleka Begum (71), husband: Late Nur Mohammad lives in Mulghar village of Mulghar union under Fakirhat upazila. Her husband was a railway porter. Her husband was died 20-22 years ago and left wife, four sons & one daughter. After his died; Maleka consistently get pension as his nominee. Last 22nd June’08, JJS-GPMP & Local Manobadhikar Jote takes an initiative to verify existing older aged allowance list, in this continuation they goes to Maleka house and found that Maleka is an allowance beneficiary (Card no Mul/220) & simultaneously, she is a government pension holder either. According to government rule, one person can’t get two allowances at a time, that’s why JJS-GPMP & Manobadhikar Jote representatives succeeded to make her realize that the way she was enjoying two allowances concurrently was wrong. After realizing the right process she wanted to ignore her current older age allowance. In this continuation on last 7th October’08, Maleka wrote an application regarding allowance card surrender to Upazila Social Welfare Office (USWO) with UP Chairman’s signatory approval. At 12th October’08 USWO include as a new allowance holder Putul Boyragi (97) husband late. Zamini boyragi.
    Putul Bairagi has no house on her own. She permanently lives with her two daughter’s families successively. She has no permanent income & can’t do any heavy work due to senility & some permanent diseases. However, in 4th January ’09 a allowance card was issued to her name. By using that card, Dated, she withdrew the allowance of BDT 1800 for the six months period of July ’08 to December ’08 (@BDT 300 per month) in January 7, 2009.
    As a result, now Putul Bairagi is a older age allowance beneficiary. She paid thanks to JJS-GPMP & Manobadhikar Jote for supporting her; getting allowance she is now very happy & expresses that “Now I can afford my medicine by this money, I am an old woman having no new hopes, other than expecting to get this allowance till my death.”

    Aware Shamima Member

    Shamima Begum (41) lives with her family in a locality called ‘Thikriparha’ in Naldha under Mouvoge union. She was lucky to continue her study up to class ten (10) with the background that most of the villagers are illiterate. Being a UP member of the wards 7, 8, 9 under Noldha Mouvoge UP for more than 15 years, Shamima bears a pro-poor mentality which is reflected in a number of development and social welfare activities initiated by her. Anyway, although keeping herself busily engaged in such activities, she lacked in the knowledge-base regarding the guidelines local government’s social initiatives; some of her eccentric, unexpected mistakes are grounded on this. Attempting to allocate allowances for nominal Poor, being motivated by influential local holds, prioritizing neighbours in allowance distribution, favouring the most-frequents are such ‘little’ drawbacks of her philanthropy.
    However, JJS-GPM project authority started to distribute some of their publications (booklet, flipchart, newsletter etc.) among the LEBs (Local Ellected Body) of Noldha Mouvoge UP in the first week of July, 2009; Shamima of course got a set of publications in hand. Since the published items mostly covered her work of interest, she used to study those elaborately at home. As a result, she richly learned the rules and guidelines for the selection of beneficiaries and allowance distribution process regarding the local government’s social initiatives such as older age allowance, widow and husband-abandoned allowance, helpless freedom fighter honorarium, disable allowance, VGD and VGF allocations. Optimistic is, Shamima Begum did not sit idle after just learning the rules; she started to implement her achieved knowledge and correct her earlier mistakes in social service distribution, when feasible. “Although I have been elected as UP Member for three successive Parishads, I did not have transparent knowledge on the rules that I obtained from the JJS-GPMP-publications. It helps me distribute the allowance according to the guidelines”- she said in this regard. “Even if anyone comes by my house and claim any allowance for him, I just read out aloud the rules from this flipchart (gesture-pointing) before him/her in order to explain if he/she is eligible for the allowance. In fact, I became aware of the proper instructions through the flipchart, and now what happens, as you would believe, people become aware by me through the flipchart-catered-knowledge”,- she explained to JJS-representative on how she convinces the potential allowance clients with the government-provided-understanding.