The proposal came all of a sudden. It was a Friday. After the Jummah prayer,I was havingthe usual chat with my friends.There a good friend of mine, Sa’ad along with Evan and Tonmoy raised the issue ofdoing something for the less fortunate people of the society. Since it was the holy month of Ramadan – the best time to do charity, to share and to get the blessings of Almighty, we all readily agreed to the idea. We realized that it is actually our duty and obligation which is often avoided. Then Sa’ad brought up the example of ‘Community Action’and how it has been doing great work for the last three years. It was a huge inspiration and worked as tonic for us. Community Action’s ongoing project ‘Action: Piyaju-Beguni 2011’- where Actioneers share iftaar with the less privileged- especially the children during the Ramadan seemed to be the perfect opportunity for us and there was no way of saying ‘NO’ to it.We learnt that this rewarding Action has been growing steadily over the past two years and this year the plan was to cover almost the whole Dhaka city. The unanimous decision was to join the Action and include Gandaria to the list of areas because we knew that though itis difficult to reach many people working alone, with CommunityAction, it would be a different story. We started planning then and there. Sa’ad led the way and did the necessary communication as we continued to make plans of sharing smiles and happiness with packets of iftaar with street children.
The Action was to take place on 28thAugust, 2011.
Here at Gandaria, we were about to perform such community work for the very first time. That is why we thought of keeping the Action small initially and set a target of sharing 200 iftaar packets. According to the plan, our first step was to collect fund for the program. We started knocking on doors to raise the fund and what a huge response we received, Masha Allah ! The superb response allowed us to double the number of packets and we started planning to serve 400 street children!
The second step was to do the area survey, order the iftaar items and most importantly select a group of Actioneers who were willing to get involved in thisnoblecause and help us to distribute the iftaar among the children. Himu da (Ehetesham Khan Siddiqui Himel) was the man who made the last one possible by bringing together our younger brothers and motivating them.And here we also got a very positive response. Babu, Kamrul, Sifat, Ananda, Maruf, Rezwan, Zahir, Tahmid, Ananto, Galib, Gourab, Tonmoy-2, Faisal and so many others worked with us with such enthusiasm. Actually they are the one who pulled off the Action so smoothly.
Now it was the time to select the menu, the yummy ones! In the menu there was :
1) a boiled egg
2) a small packet of biscuits
3) a candy
4) a banana , big one
5) a special Jilapi
6) two khejurs
7) a packet of mango juice
and of course,
8) a beguni and
9) a piyaju… not bad hmm?!
We called a final group meeting on the 26th of August to discuss the works to be done. On the event day, 28th of August, we started to gather at a decided place with all the collected food items and necessary packaging materials. We began packing the iftaar at about 1:00 p.m. and finished it within 3:00 p.m. Sa’ad gave a briefing on how to distribute the iftaar. We formed 4 groups to cover 4 different routes and a leader was selected in each of them .A simple message was to be conveyed to the children whilst distribution and that was,“Start eating with the name of Allah saying Bismillah and don’t forget to wash your hand before eating”
There were 7 Actioneeers in my group and we started distribution in a slum near Doyaganz Mosque. It started very simply by giving packet to one child but within few minutes the news spread in the area and lots and lots of young boys and girls came running towards us. We organized them in a single line and started sharing the smiles-the iftaars. It was an absolute delight to see their happiness after getting a packet of iftaar.
There were some limitations and we also faced a few setbacks along the ways. But it was simply great being a part of this noble cause. The team work, the joy on the innocent faces, the laughter and most of all- the emotions we experienced- they were priceless!