For the next week, I am blogging about my trip to Dhaka. So what am I doing here? A few weeks ago, I was one of 3 lucky people selected to represent the British Council and NCVYS (the National Council of Voluntary Youth Services) for an international study visit as part of the Active Citizens programme I am doing for the next few months. What is it? In a nutshell, Active Citizens is basically a programme that provides training to young people all over the world to engage with issues in the local communities and creating a network of these youth globally run by British Council (more details here) and has already reached 300,000 people.
So from 24 Nov – Dec 1st, myself and other young people from Bosnia & Herzegovina, India, U.K, Sri Lanka, Pakistan & Bangladesh are in Dhaka for a mixture of workshops, visits to communities and various projects around the area and debates. We will also be splitting into two groups halfway through to visit Syllhet & Rajshahi to see what is going on there but more on that in later posts.
Our day today consisted mostly of getting to know each other, identifying what we want to get out of the week and each other as well as a visit to a local historical monument. We were also shown one of the projects that is run here by Shushilan – a cultural dance all about active citizens which told a story of the issues they were tackling all done through dance which was really interesting. They even got us all to dance and join in too which was fun!
The people here are very friendly and welcoming and the hustle and bustle of Dhaka reminds me very much of India. Driving to the hotel from the airport you could get a real sense of the rapid growth that is happening here, as new buildings and skyscrapers begin to tower the skyline amidst a sea of people going about their daily lives.
Haven’t been sure what to expect to be honest and so I am doing my best to keep an open mind and just absorb as much as I can. It is great to be around such vibrant and passionate like minded people though, they are all doing amazing work in their communities – I might do a little feature of each country in a later post because there’s so much to showcase.
Leave it here for now. Wanted to keep it very short and simple. Haven’t caught up on sleep yet, spent most of last night having the most amazing conversation with a fellow volunteer about everything from education to voluntary work and life generally, so I have a lot of sleep to catch up on. Tomorrow we are visiting the Jaago foundation, which I’m really looking forward to seeing and hearing all about – illiteracy is a HUGE problem here as 40% of the population are illiterate.