This is a story of a group of ordinary people like you and me, who decided to reach out to some other ordinary people just like us, except less fortunate. The Co-Founders of Helpmate Foundation wanted to help those who aren't as blessed as we all are, and decided to bring together a group of dreamers with the same determination and charisma to materialise their thoughts. And what better time to spread merriment and well-being than the holy month of Ramadan?
“We planned to arrange Iftar meals for underprivileged children and their families, so we organised Iftar for 350 people of the slum at Sector 12 of the city's Uttara area. We personally selected the recipients and made sure they were all people who were desperately in need of food,” said Mahi Fayed Haque, a Co-Founder and CEO of Helpmate Foundation.
Mahi Fayed’s companions were aided by a team of young and dedicated volunteers – Ankon Rahman, Raihan Sharif Rafi, a private candidate for IAL, Mashruk Amin, Anan Zaman and Shajidul Islam Amoy, all students of Scholastica, his Co-Founders Borshon Uz Zaman of NSU, Lutfur Rahman Shifat, Aulinur Ahmed of BIT, Aaqid Mohammad and his driver turned well-wisher Biplob.
For a greater cause
Initially this Iftaar give-away was simply “to give the slum people the experience of the iftar we have every day” as Mahi Fayed puts it. “Exactly three days before the event, I was walking in the slum and noticed a piece of unused land right beside the jheel
. An idea struck me,” he said. The idea of establishing an education institution for the area's children on that very place jumped into his head, and this iftaar turned into a milaad for the school. When this news spread across the area, the children's excitement and enthusiasm could be felt as they kept asking, “Bhaiya, when will the school open?”
Their plan was as simple as two plus two. First, sell the idea to the targeted group of people. On asking how they got started, Mahi Fayed said, “Thanks to Asian radio, we were able to broadcast the whole event.” But what sounds simple might not be so in reality. According to Aaqid, their first struggle was to “convince the people about what we are trying to do.”
This led them to the second stage - the collection of capital, which was all the more difficult because they had to convince people that the funds would be utilised effectively and put to good use. For this reason, Lutfur said their biggest struggle was to “raise the funds.”
“Things could’ve gone a lot smoother if our A Level exams hadn’t intervened,” said both Aulinur and Lutfur.
The team was finally prepared with money at hand, and instantly threw themselves into their work. “After a week of fund-raising, we ended up with 20000 BDT for the iftaar,” informed the CEO. Packets of food were bought using this money for 350 under-privileged children and their families.
Only the beginning
The Helpmate Foundation still has a long journey ahead. Another iftaar give-away is being planned on 29 June, 2016. Mahi Fayed said, “Help from us comes in the form of education, food, clothes and shelter or medical assistance. We have big dreams for the future.”
And the giving doesn’t stop there. “Our social work aims to provide employment opportunities for the extreme poor and basic literacy programmes,” said Aaqid.
Volunteering for social work is probably the best investment of someone’s time, and the volunteers at Helpmate Foundation sincerely urge others to try it out. Volunteering can also help you to make new friends, develop communication skills and build self confidence by giving you a new sense of purpose.
Accordign to Mashruk, “A true giver doesn’t give to get known.” There are so many NGOs and individuals all over the country who dedicate their lives to social services; their ventures could be bigger or smaller than this one. But the key ingredient is the intention.”
- See more at: http://www.dhakatribune.com/weekend/2016/jun/30/spoon-hungry-mouths#sthash.UFSszYDt.dpuf