Every year during Ramadan, Actioneers look forward to one of the most fun-filled events of CommunityAction– Action: Piyaju-Beguni. Just like its name suggests, this yearly event is all about distributing iftaar among underprivileged individuals, especially children. Executed each year since 2009, Action: Piyaju-Beguni (dubbed “APB”) has a rich history of having an ever-expanding number of beneficiaries, not to mention uncountable memories on part of the Actioneers as well.
This year, from 9th to 12th of July, 83 Actioneers executed the project in five locations of Dhaka city: Dhanmondi, Dhaka University, Mohammedpur, Khilgaon and Bailey road, distributing iftaar among 1225 kids belonging to 11 orphanages and a school for street-children.
Each zone’s event started with a pre-event meeting, where Actioneers came together to discuss and brainstorm how to execute each step of the Action.
On the date fixed during the pre-event meeting, the Actioneers went out to buy everything they needed for the event. This wasn’t restricted only to food; they had to buy everything for packaging and distributing the food as well.
Earlier on the day of the event, Actioneers came together to prepare and pack all the iftaar items. Calling this a tough job would be an understatement; the Actioneers had to wrap fruits, boil eggs, mix lemonades, pack all the other items, and put them into individual bags for easy distribution. But nevertheless, they enjoyed the whole process as well.
One thing you’re bound to hear from Actioneers who participated several times in APB is that every year, things seem to go wrong with the preparation. You don’t have the funds yet, half of the samosa got burned, an Actioneers stubbed his toe while buying bananas, or you were too stressed out to notice that you forgot to buy the packets (imagine distributing iftaar by hand!). But no matter how worse the situation gets, the Actioneers miraculously pull off the events smoothly every time. Somehow, every problem seems to get solved at the 11th hour.
“Who says miracles don’t happen every other day?” says Nazia Nusrat Shoumi, an Actioneer who knows better from her many experiences of the project.
This year, Actioneers from Bailey road zone distributed iftaar to an orphanage and a school named “Pathakoly Pathsala”, a nonprofit school providing free education to the street children of Dhaka. Founded in 2009 with a vision of giving underprivileged children proper access to education, the school took its first classes in open air inside Panthakunja Public Park, a large patch of green thriving in the midst of concrete giants in Panthapath near Shonargaon Hotel. In the beginning, the executives ran the school with their own limited study stipends and unlimited passion, but eventually they managed to get donors who provided the necessary funds for the regular expenses of the school. The passion, however, proved difficult to be imported from elsewhere.
Within a short span of 5 years, the school made a remarkable progress, having its own advisory board, group of volunteers and teachers, and sources of regular funds. The classes are now taken under a large steel shade with a space for the kids to sit on, and the park has turned from a notorious drug dealing spot to a peaceful evening resort for the elderly, mostly due to the renovation of the park done by the locals who came forward for making the place a better place for studying. The Actioneers enjoyed interacting with the students of Pathakoly while distributing iftaar, and getting to know about the harsh lives these small kids lead made them realize how privileged they are for everything they have. Actioneers from other zones had great times too. They interacted with students from several orphanages and shared iftaar with them.
One of the perks of participating in APB is that Actioneers get to know children from underprivileged communities all over the country. We often tend to take for granted everything we’ve ever been blessed with, and listening to these kids’ stories about how they make it through each day helps us feel thankful for all the privileges that we have. And this feeling of gratitude, in turn, helps us empathize with those who aren’t as lucky as we are, and pushes us towards working more for the betterment of these people.
As the sun went down and the time came to break fasts and wrap up the event, the exhausted Actioneers clapped each other on the back and set out for home, filled with a strange happiness and memories of a lifetime.
And walking off to the sunset never got any better.