After four years of hard work on the part of Abu Sayed and the local population of Satkhira, and with the help of friends and contributors (Master CoDe and others), the Masud Parves Library was inaugurated on 15 February this year. My friend Abu Sayed is talking in the last newsletter of CoDe about what this experience has meant to him and what he hopes and plans has for the future. While I was reading the article from the newsletter, I felt goose bumps and shivers of excitement and emotion cross my body:
“The most important lesson I have learnt throughout these last years in implementing the Masud Parves Library is that there are always people around us with the same energetic mind and a strong willingness to work for social welfare. If likeminded people with a positive mentality purposively work together, success becomes meaningful and achievable. When people with similar passions and beliefs around the world connect and work together, distance doesn’t matter — no landmark seems unachievable. We just need to find those people. With less effort than we suppose, we can find them by using our social capital that most of the time we fail to identify or notice.
This was a realization that spawned within me while I was asking Mihai, one of my friends from Europe, regarding his involvement in Masud Parves Library. Gratian, another friend of mine from Romania and also from my Master CoDe edition, literally opened my eyes to a whole new understanding of the bountiful relational resources around us and their connecting and productive power in doing social good. He thinks that boundaries and identities disappear when people have the same immense desire to foster social welfare. He enlightened me by stressing, “you live in a different continent and Mihai lives in another continent, but the work you are doing and what Mihai thinks are the same. Although you don’t know each other you both have a common vision. This means we have the same energetic mentality to work together. That’s why we all are together to establish the Masud Parves Library”. This identification or construction of a common imaginary is so powerful that it can bring people from across boundaries together for the services of distant and destitute humanity.
We started discussing, with our friends, and disseminating our ideas regarding the construction of the library in 2011. These were friends who were diverse in nationality but similar in mindset. As it turned out, we found a group of energetic people around us who had a hidden desire to do something for those parts of society that need the most help — the destitute and the deprived. We thought together and shared our tentative ideas around giving our altruistic motives and intended efforts an organizational shape. What came out were thoughtful proposals on how to form the executive committee, what should be the operational roles and positions and what should we aim at for the future. All of them liked the ideas generated and participated with us in helping to make the dream real. With mental and financial support of these friends, we managed to open the library for public use on 15 February, 2016.
Today, we have 322 items of reading materials (text books, research related books, agricultural and religious books, literature, documents and leaflets on awareness building, children’s books, nature/science/arts related books, magazines, planning and development related books, etc.), around 10,000 e-books and 5 laptops at the library for the students and villagers. We recruited 2 assistants to take care of the running of the library and to achieve the goals that the library has set for itself. This is the result of a combined effort of 24 nationalities. But all that has been achieved by these friends will not stop here. We are continually working towards making the library’s scope and spread even wider.”
Future activities of the Library as a Socio-Educational Hub:
Scholarship program: If any individual or philanthropist offers a scholarship program for the students of the villages, MPL extends its heartiest welcome. This programme can be mutually worked out in the form of direct financial contribution. The contributed money will be organizationally managed and placed as Fixed Deposit in the bank. The bank-interest gained would be used as regular stipends meant for the students at an officially determined rate. 80% of the money will be allocated as scholarships for the best academic scorers from the nearest high school; 10% of the interest money added to prime amount (Fixed Deposit), and the remaining 10% of the interest will be added to the official account of Masud Parves Library. Thus, the scholarship fund would increase, the students get monetary support, and the income of the library partially sustained.
Internship opportunities: MPL welcomes any organization or university willing to send their practitioners/ students to do an internship in social and organizational fields. We intend to provide learning and research opportunities through formal and contractual collaboration with other relevant organizations. The library will have accommodation facilities for the intern. The intern is expected to teach the students and the employees of the library: possible subjects being foreign languages, modern technologies, cultural diversities and in areas that fit the learning needs of the children. The intern/volunteer will have the challenging yet manageable experience of living in a remote locality of a third world setting. This is meant to be an experience where life will take the first world abundance away, but will give ample opportunities to reflect upon the socio-political causes that underpin poverty. An intern will be able to examine and learn from the social, organizational and management practices that augment the everyday process of social support.
Tourism: Any of our friends and friends of friends has a home away from home in Bangladesh. The largest natural mangrove forest in the world, the Sundarbans (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sundarbans), which has been declared as one of the World Heritages by UNESCO, is only 6 km away from the library. Our friends cum tourists will also have a partial responsibility of teaching at MPL during their stay.
Cultural center: The library will have a multimedia projector to organize educational events and entertainment for the community. It will show renowned movies, documentaries, and awareness building programs for the students and villagers.
Training center: The employees of the library will prepare an annual training calendar for computer courses for the students of level VI to X. Every week they will assist a fixed number of students in these courses.
Private lessons: During the library’s opening hours, any student may come to the library and request assistance from the library staff in the form of extra school lessons.
Medical center: The library will identify, list and invite doctors who are motivated and wish to volunteer. By rotation this pool of doctors will volunteer to serve the local people for two hours a week free of charge. In extreme cases when doctors are not able to be present, the villagers will come at the library and will consult via Skype. Later, the doctor will send the prescription via Skype or email. The office staff will print the document(s) and give to the patients. Thus, the villagers will get primary treatment prescribed by medical practitioners.
Communication center: If any villager wants to talk with his relatives living abroad, Masud Parves Library will be the best place for them as most of the villagers do not have internet facilities.
Thank You Abu Sayed for your involvement and devotion, Thank You Mihai, Marina, Alice, Gopi, Ranju, Anca, Farid, Rasel for your support, Thank you Helen for this material. You are all people who inspire! #KeepWalking