Inspiring Story: From Student To Entrepreneurial Leader

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Here we have yet another inspiring story about a young leader, one more among those who keep telling and showing us that it is possible to achieve our dreams, that it is possible to make change happen! All with the understanding, however, that we need to work hard and stay persistent in what we want to achieve. Young Bangladeshi Rakibul Hasan (22) has been recognized as a ‘Queen’s Young Leader’ under the category of ‘Highly Commended Runner-Up’, representing Bangladesh in the Commonwealth nations. In October 2014, Hasan graduated from the Department of Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Dhaka. And currently he trains young Bangldeshis to write interesting stories and establish themselves as journalists in English-language dailies.

Tell us more about projects you have done and the one that are active in now?

For the last couple of years, I have been working with many organizations through different projects. These days I volunteer as Head of Media Affairs with our region’s largest youth organization, the South Asian Youth Society (SAYS). There I work to inspire young adults in creative writing, and I help them to publish their pieces in different English dailies at home and abroad. Besides this, I work at The Bangladesh Today, a national English language daily, which greatly enables me to publish many of their writings, particularly those whom I train in schools and colleges across my country. 

How did you come up with the idea of this project?

To encourage a generation of change to flourish within realistic limits, I studied the contemporary growth of transnational young people in South Asia, especially with a focus on my country of origin, Bangladesh. One thing we have achieved today is diversity in the nature and scope of youth activism, covering the spectrum from entrepreneurship to rights in general.  In most cases, I have found testimony of quantitative growth, especially in entrepreneurial leadership, which lacks some of the qualitative strengths that you would like to see among young adults. They are still fine, but we need to balance the entire experience of youth activism. To me, we are greatly in need of a generation who would think, speak, and write on the values that are in decline in our respective societies. With the race to materialistic growth, we have started forgetting the taste of freedom, the cultures of enlightenment, and the glories of human emancipation from prejudices and stereotypes. Truth is, we the young generation are soon going to replace our senior citizens in their responsibilities. So I ask the question, are the young adults of today ready to take over? And the reality is there is nothing left vacant, which means if we the young people do not grow ourselves, incapable people will lead us and guess what will wait for us. Therefore, I firmly believe that if we can introduce our young people to the right set of values during their years of growth and development, it will have a lasting impact later when they become adult citizens. Over the years I have engaged all young people to understand diversity, to contribute to peacebuilding, and to write for the right to express whatever they think the nation needs to know. To that end, our drive aims at teenagers who are attending schools and colleges nationwide.

Did you achieve what you wanted to? Has it been accepted?

The nature of my activism is evolutionary. However, we have already trained nearly five hundred students and hope to train a thousand more this year.

What do you want to achieve?

It is very simple. I would like to see young people write on the causes they are willing to suffer for or to establish a utopia – an imagined society that they would like to live in during their lifetime or offer to the generations to come.

Through a journalism project, Hasan has trained hundreds of local and South Asian youths in citizen journalism, editing and publishing their commentaries and features on the heart-felt causes they suffer for every day. The right to freedom of expression must be inherent to every one of us. The idea of citizen journalism, Haasan maintains, aims at training young school-aged students so that they can consciously understand their rights later, when they grow up in society. Hasan believes in ensuring freedom of expression, especially within the youth community.  He advocates youth participation in new media and citizen journalism around the country, and he works for evolutionary social change, especially in forming public opinion among young people.  Hasan’s experiences growing up in a crime zone and studying violence enable him to initiate many social and community campaigns/projects, raising awareness against types and degrees of violence in the community.     

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