“The biggest of battles can be won, only if we fight it together,” says Asif Azam, one of the six founders of Imagine.Nation, a recently opened Facebook group of independent social workers with 1,382 members. Essentially, the group acts as a platform or middle ground that makes both people in need, and people who want to donate to those in need find a common ground. With a platform as large as Facebook, the admins facilitate this process by either finding donors for those in need or finding causes that really matter and bring it to the attention of those who can and want to donate. With a simple mission to contribute to the society, in any way possible, no matter how miniscule, they are taking baby steps towards achieving their goals, one project at a time.
“Even if it's in the tiniest way possible, I personally always wanted to contribute to the society. This idea has grew over time as I observed and learned more about life. Luckily, when I shared the idea with my friends I was surprised to find that they felt the same way.” Soon after the idea took the form of a real project and the Imagine.Nation team was born. With just a little bit of planning and a whole lot of initiative, Azam, Tahrina, Shahtaj, Mustafa, Saiful, Rubayet and Sadi opened the public group and began to take matters into their hands. With six core members, they “rotate” their responsibilities with each founder taking turns to facilitate the groups demands. While they manage the group's activities as a whole, Azam says that there has been immense response from independent volunteers. “People come forward to volunteer on various projects and that's really something that makes me proud,” he added.
Their Ramadan initiatives include a venture where they hand out Iftar packages to the needy. “We chose to distribute these to a number of children and their families who attend a school in Mirpur. We gave the packages to these children because we wanted to encourage them to regularly attend school,” said Shahtaj Mahmud, one of the founders. In addition to handing out meal packs to the needy, they also handed out some of the packs to old rickshaw pullers. A portion of the proceeds were donated to Utsho, a two and a half year cancer patient who cannot afford treatment.
Utsho's case was brought to light by a Facebook post made to the group. The post read: “Utsho, a 2.5 years old boy, suffering from first stage leukaemia, is now under chemo therapy in Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (commonly known as PG Hospital). Mr. Palash, his unfortunate father, is knocking every single door for financial support to continue this boy’s treatment. Doctors said Utsho will need 8 course of chemo for now and the treatment will take 5 years to help the kid get rid of the cancerous cells completely (if that miracle really happens).” The group propelled members to share the post, raising awareness. It also funds Utsho's treatment helping his father to partially bear the expenses.
“We are providing our services to the ones in real need, mostly by connecting to different NGOs and help them a little in what they do on regular basis. Our services are backed by the people, whoever feels the connection to the initiative. We have been able to connect to some wonderful human beings through this process,” says Shahtaj.
What sets Imagine.Nation apart from other private initiatives is their ability to be able to connect so many individuals and initiatives on one single platform. “Anybody can be a part of Imagine.Nation and we are always open to different ideas which are connected to contributing to the society,” Asif shared.
Although they are only in the beginning stage of social work, they know they have a long way to go. “We do intend to work on bigger causes, but for now we only intend to keep the motivation alive,” said Shahtaj. However, they also believe that the future initiatives would only be possible if we keep receiving our people’s help, which we have so far been blessed with.
“Imagine.Nation is nothing but a group of people who imagine a better world. All we want to do is make the world a better place for everyone. It doesn’t necessarily have to be poor people but currently they are the ones in need. We dream of a united world where there is no discrimination between the rich and poor. We want to help the helpless,” Shahtaj said.