Space For Rent
Tuesday, March 1, 2016, Falgun 18, 1422 BS, Jamadiul Awwal 20, 1437 Hijri

The bud of dreams
Tonmoy Ahmed
Published :Tuesday, 1 March, 2016,  Time : 12:00 AM  View Count : 28
She could have develop her career as a crafted musician, playing with notes and enjoying a divine serenity, as she sings Tagore songs and had a graduation in music from a reputed university. Instead, she has developed a strong compulsion to spread the beauty of music and the power of hope - not within the privileged quarter of the society but among differently abled and under-privileged children.
Jhara Moni Biswas started working for the welfare of those children in Muktagachha of Mymensingh in 2012. With her ever growing impulsion and affection for the children with special needs, over the years, she has steeled herself in her goal to make them believe in themselves and help them step up against their traditional calling.
Through three years of relentless service for the children Jhara, now the chief of Swapnakuri (The bud of dreams), learnt that differently abled children, if provided with a little care, love and cooperation, can shine and contribute a lot to the society.
Towards its goal to merge them with the mainstream, her organization has undertaken a number of initiatives including offering scholarships, improving mothers health care and empowering parents with knowledge of keeping their children better.
Not just does it educate the children, but Swapnakuri educates their parents about their rightful attitude towards differently abled children as well. That is how the organization stands out.
Jhara narrated how she had got the offer to work for this cause without any prior expectations and ended up having her world built out of doggedness and tenacity for the betterment of those children. It was almost the end of the year 2011 when she came to know about Swapnakuri.
"That time I was working for a supplement of a national daily. While covering an assignment, I came to know about Swapnakuri and was offered to be engaged there as a music teacher. It is my observation that music motivates them a lot, so do sports and other forms of activities. The children of our school were allowed to take part in district-level music and sports competitions. Although they couldn't outperform the normal children, they didn't do any worse either," she said.
Her organization gave all the efforts needed for developing psychology of children. Now, they have 400 children to deal with. Sixteen regular teachers are there to provide voluntary service to the school. There are also therapists to provide physiotherapy to the children.
Recently, Jhara secured a spot as one of the top 30 awardees in the Joy Bangla Youth Award (JBYA) Ceremony, one of the initiatives undertaken by the country's largest platform of change-makers Young Bangla under the auspices of Centre for Research and Information (CRI).
The facts having motivated Swapnakuri organizers to continue their efforts are that a considerable portion of the total population of this country is differently abled.
According to World Health Organization, as much as 10 per cent of the world population is differently abled in one way or another, and most of them belong to very poor families.
"We hope to work untiringly so that we can merge the differently abled children with the mainstream and that no such children can be regarded as a burden of the family. It is often observed that parents hold very negative attitude towards them. That's why we involve them so much in music, sports and other activities with a view to convince them that they are normal like other kids," Jhara further said.
She also suggested government and non-government organizations to come up with awareness-raising programmes for mothers that could avert the possibility of a child being physically challenged. For this, there are certain things that mothers should avoid during pregnancy. Advertising should be made and popularized to make people around the country conscious about the fact.
Asked about her perception about existing government initiatives to help differently abled children, she said, "It is true that the government is willing to merge differently abled children with normal kids. It's not that the whole scenario will change overnight. They have done a lot. Still there are more to do. Those living in remote areas are yet to receive due attention. I think they can make a database of differently able children around the country and provide them with sufficient facilities."
Jhara strongly believes that Swapnakuri will bloom and continue to emit fragrance through the contributions of differently abled children. The process has just begun.
Tonmoy Ahmed is Assistant Coordinator Research, Centre for Research and Information (CRI) and Assistant Secretary, Central Sub-Committee, Bangladesh Awami League

Editor : Iqbal Sobhan Chowdhury
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