An evening of chai and retrospection
Certain intimacies are lost at the heart of a budding metropolitan such as ours. Culturally ingrained and passed down for generations is the practice of sitting in a circle and sharing tales of tradition and folklore, a common sight in rural Bangladesh. Amidst the hustle and bustle of Dhaka City, Spreeha Foundation hoped to cultivate a similar environment and sense of community at their event.
On Saturday, July 28, Spreeha Foundation hosted the pilot session of ‘Amar Spreeha’ – the first of a series of bi-monthly talks focused on building necessary conversations and driving change within youth communities. Their vision is to provide a platform to show the heroes of tomorrow, through example, that people who followed their passions have pioneered change and found happiness in the pursuit of meaningful, impactful work.
Perhaps the perfect example starts with Tazin Shadid, the founder of Spreeha Foundation. Traveling back in time to 2008, Tazin left his position as a senior UX researcher at Microsoft to pursue his long-held dream of developing a social venture that would help the underprivileged at home.
What started out as a mobile clinic, has since transformed into an organization spanning multiple programs and helping thousands of lives. Currently, Spreeha engages in the provision of healthcare, education, skills training as well as youth building and leadership activities to communities both located in urban and rural regions. The organization’s projects are present in Dhaka, Teknaf and Bandarban.
Tazin Shadid had dared to live his 'spreeha', and according to Spreeha Foundation – so should you. Accompanying them that evening were four out of seven friends who started Togbog -- a page that focuses solely on creating positive content in the form of engaging short videos, regularly depicting and exploring the various interesting facets of Bangladesh. Their 'spreeha' is to bring to light all the good things, everything we should love and be proud of about our country.
When we open up Facebook, we’re immediately knee-deep in a surge of overwhelmingly negative content pertaining to all things close to home. To an extent, that’s justified. How do we solve these problems if we don’t even know about them? Yet, we often forget that our newsfeeds only share one side of the story. We are the citizens of a country that is not only surviving, but in many cases, thriving for a better tomorrow -- and our online presence doesn’t do much in the way of reflecting that.
The minds behind Togbog realized this imbalance in content consumption, and decided it was time for a change. Their experiences working on Togbog were just one of a number of interesting conversations permeating the air that evening.
Illuminated by the warm glow of lamps and fairy light in the coziest of settings, people of different ages with varying fields of expertise -- from engineering to philosophy -- shared unique insights, personal experiences and perspectives.
Instead of being just another seminar with speakers allotted a fixed number of minutes to deliver a scripted message, ‘Amar Spreeha’ provided a refreshing change of pace with its engaging structure and ambience. No audience, just a community and a platform to share their stories.
Spreeha Bangladesh Foundation is a non-profit organization with a dynamic team of problem solvers who tackle social issues head-on and devise creative solutions. Their programs include:
Sneho: A healthcare program catering to the medical needs of communities - Sneho provides access to physicians, medication, pharmacy and pathology lab services, as well as health education.
Duronto: A well-rounded educational program providing early childhood developmental services, after-school program, scholarships and education counseling.
Progga: A creative leadership program empowering adolescent girls with essential life skills and promoting self-definition and confidence, enabling them to become active participants in society.
Kusholi: A training program focusing on equipping individuals who are deprived of technological access with necessary IT- related skill sets to enable and accelerate their career paths.
Udoy: Udoy centers empower working mothers in the RGM sector by providing early child development center and a daycare as well as monthly discussions stressing on maternal care and well-being.
Aalo: An emergency disaster response program that is working to rebuild the lives of the Rohingya refugees. The program includes provision of healthcare, education, relief materials, and counseling in the refugee camps situated in Bangladesh.
Journey of hope - breaking the poverty cycle: A project funded by Spreeha Foundation (USA), a voluntary organization based in Seattle, aiming to break the cycle of poverty by providing healthcare, education and skills training to underprivileged individuals in the Rayer Bazar Community of Dhaka, Bangladesh. In partnership with Spreeha Bangladesh since the year of 2013, the project uses a holistic approach towards ending poverty and has successfully been able to impact 49,705 lives as of May, 2017.