Ignition of a sense of responsibility towards the ‘special’ community of the society: The crucial revolution for a better world

Recently, a viral video of a nine-year-old boy caught my attention. The Australian kid, Quaden Bayles was asking for a knife from his mother who was filming the entire incident. Despite his mother continuously urging him to ignore the taunts, the constant bullying caused him to become suicidal and ultimately wanting to kill himself by using a knife. The only fault of the little boy was his ‘disability’ to grow taller. According to his mother, Quaden suffers from Achondroplasia dwarfism, a rare bone-growth disorder that makes him shorter than other kids. The Australian mom, Yarraka Bayles broadcast her pain to the world, “This is the effect of bullying. It’s the constant bullying, the name-calling, obviously pointing out his difference. We are not suffering silence anymore. There are way too many people suffering in silence.” The incident reminded me of a famous quote by Robert Michael Hensel who despite being born with the birth defect known as Spina bifida is a Guinness World Records holder for the longest non-stop wheelie in a wheelchair. He said, “There is no greater disability in society than the inability to see a person as more.”

Just close your eyes for a moment. What do you see? Pitch Black? Now, put your hands in your ears. Can you hear anything? What happens when you catch a severe cold? It is hard to speak, right? Sometimes, you have to use sign language to communicate and it is quite irritating when you get mocked. What happens when you break your hand or leg? It is difficult to do your daily chores, is it not? Now, imagine what happens to those people who go through these ‘problems’ every single day of their lives. Yes, I am talking about them who are more commonly known to the ‘ordinary people’ as ‘blind’, ‘deaf and dumb’, or ‘disabled’ people.

In 2017, I appeared for the SSC (Secondary School Certificate) examination, a public examination in Bangladesh for the 10th-grade students conducted by the educational board as the completion exam of secondary education. After the tiring exam, I had a long vacation of 3 months and was thinking of ways to utilize my spare time. When I asked my father about it, he advised me to work as a volunteer at PROYASH, a school situated at Chattogram Cantonment for the children with special needs. I thought it was not a bad idea to spend my leisure time as well as gather some working experience. As a result, I started going to PROYASH marking the beginning of a blissful journey. I never realized that there are so many kinds of disorders people could have until I visited this institution. Disorders like Down syndrome and Cerebral Palsy (CP) were quite new to me but it was unbelievable how much I learnt about such disorders and children suffering from them through my work in PROYASH. Now, let us get to my experience of working at that divine place. I was assigned to work in the ECDP – Early Child Development Program in the first week. This was the class similar to our nursery class, where all the special toddlers are taken care of. This is the class where I met little Azmain, an adorable baby with Down syndrome; Tahmid, a kid suffering from ADHD – Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder; Mighdad, Arafat, Shayan, Ishaan, Zarif, Labib and the other little cuties. It was amusing working with these adorable and talented children. It was adorable when little Azmain spoke in ‘gibberish’ or Tahmid would not stop saying goodbye to us while we were leaving, when Zarif would ask me to get him his favorite teddy bear or when Mighdad played ‘Disha Disha’ with me. The second week was as delightful as the first one. Apparently, the third week was the best because on 2nd April, I got the chance to celebrate World Autism Awareness Day for the first time. The day started with a brief discussion about Autism. After that, we all rallied through the areas nearby to raise awareness along with the students, teachers and staffs of PROYASH. It was indeed one of the experiences I will cherish forever in my heart.

In the fifth and sixth weeks, I worked in the Primary (1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th) class where I met an extraordinary little girl, Shreya (ADHD) who can memorize anything, even the calendar. If you tell her a date of any year she can tell what day it was within a second. Amazing, is it not? This little girl changed my whole perception of children with special needs and their ‘inability’. To be honest, she mastered the impossible; even what ‘normal’ people are incapable of doing. Then, what right do ‘normal’ people have to label ‘people like her’ as ‘disabled’?

My journey in PROYASH did come to an end soon after my classes of 11th grade started but the time I spent there is unforgettable. By working in PROYASH I realized how lucky I am to be born normal. My experience there persuaded me to feel grateful to Almighty for this. I also realized that these kids are capable of doing a lot even some things we ordinary people cannot do and therefore, I prefer to call them ‘Differently-abled’ or ‘Special Children’ instead of ‘Disabled’ because they are not ‘literally’ disabled now, are they? “[By] this most sorrowful way I was compelled to tread, I learned to respect and reverence for every human mind. It was my child who taught me to understand so clearly that all people are equal in their humanity and that all have the same human rights. None is to be considered less, as a human being, than any other, and each must be given his place and safety in the world. I might never have learned this in any other way. I might’ve gone on in the arrogance of my own intolerance for those less able than myself. My child taught me humanity,” said the first American female Nobel Prize laureate in Literature, Pearl S. Buck in her groundbreaking memoir, The Child Who Never Grew about raising a special-needs daughter in a time of prejudice. In fact, the only thing ‘these’ children need is a little love and care, not our sympathy but the problem is the society’s view of the person’s abilities. People often see an individual’s disability before the respective individual but this is wrong. I often observe ‘kids’ our age calling the special children in offensive language, or teasing or mocking them. These ‘Illiterate kids’ do not realize even for a single moment that the special children are humans like us. Sometimes, ordinary kids are scared to befriend these special kids. I want to tell them, please do not be. Be the first person to take a step ahead. Your single step can help create a difference. I hope everyone reading this will try to work for special children and make their family and friends aware as well. In this world full of haters and bullies, it does not take much to be a person to spread love and positivity. After the Australian kid, Quaden’s heart-wrenching video flooded the internet, celebrities including actor Hugh Jackman and basketball player Enes Kanter have spoken out and parents around the globe shared video messages from their children in support of the nine-year-old. The video triggered everyone to stand against bullying of all forms and taught us that we should never be insensitive towards someone’s insecurities or disabilities. We should never forget Robert M. Hensel’s saying, “We, the ones who are challenged, need to be heard. To be seen not as a disability, but as a person who has, and will continue to bloom. To be seen not only as a handicap but as a well intact human being.” In conclusion, ignition of a sense of responsibility to spread love and abolish hate is the most essential revolution for a better world, a world full of love. I know that if we all can work together, we can make this world a better place for everyone.

Author: Nuzaba Tasannum, Project Coordinator, reflective TEENS and Undergraduate 1st-year Student at Asian University for Women (AUW)

International Women’s Day: It All Matters

Do you ever feel like you’re an insignificant feminist because all you’re doing right now is getting your education and you haven’t made an actual contribution towards the movement yet? Well, this is a thought that occurs to me every day, but we’re wrong. Probably not the first time we’ve been told we’re wrong, but it’s legit this time. How so? Every time we handle a situation like the bosses we are, we’re contributing. We are significant.

Every time your mom tells you that that top / dress is inappropriate and you still choose to rock it because you shouldn’t have to police what you wear due to other people’s low mentalities, you’re significant. Every time your brother / cousins make an ignorant comment about your body type and you shut that shit down, you’re significant. Every time a highly misinformed relative tells your parents that going abroad to study will spoil you and you tell them that their son didn’t need to go any further than his own bedroom in order to get “spoiled,” you’re significant. Every time your misogynistic male friend puts their heart and soul (I’m not making this up, some people are just sad) into trying to make you feel bad for identifying as a feminist and you just couldn’t care less, you’re significant. Every time your supposedly modern boyfriend is egotistical but also shit deep in his own insecurities about you so he tries to control you and you remind him who the hell he actually is (sometimes that doesn’t work – please dump him), you’re significant. Every time some guy – who clearly also has the wrong idea about whoever the hell he is – calls you a slut for doing the exact same thing he did and you delete his number (or some version of this on a dating app) even before he’s out of sight, you’re significant. Every time literally anyone gives you an opinion about your own self that you didn’t remotely ask for and you tell them to mind their own business (maybe not as politely), you’re significant. And last, but definitely not the least, every time you wake up in the morning and drag your highly caffeinated self to class to learn something that’ll help you achieve your career goals someday, you’re significant.

Happy International Women’s Day to all the great young women, alongside our grandmothers, mothers, aunts, and every other woman that inspires us to work harder. Never change your views and opinions no matter how unconventional they are because “society” honestly only is as much a part of your life as you make it. Those who mind won’t matter and those who matter won’t mind. You do you!

Author: Manaar Sadida, a high school graduate from William Carey Academy, on the verge of adulthood, and a feminist (“a person who believes in the equality of all genders,” for all you ignorant sexists) who calls a spade a spade and absolutely despises people with double standards (hypocrites). 

Facebook Challenges: As Useless As the Dorne Storyline in “Game of Thrones”

In our modern-day society, Facebook has become a huge part of our lives. Starting from my chauffer to my nani, EVERYONE is on it. Well, why wouldn’t they be? Facebook has become such a huge platform now that you pretty much have access to everything through it. Whether it be online shopping, breaking news, food places, or major upcoming events, Facebook has all of it to offer.

Amidst all the pros of Facebook, obviously there are a few cons as well. The most recent one that has caught my eye is probably related to the initial purpose of Facebook. Yes, I’m talking about the “3 names”/ “negative thing”/ “compliment” challenges. Now, you may wonder why I include the compliment challenge in this, since compliments are supposedly a positive thing, right? That’s debatable when you’re fake as fuck, but more on that later.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I myself have liked/commented on my friends’ posts regarding these. I was fairly honest in my comments, and I believe I got fairly honest replies to my comments too. Sadly, not everything I read besides my comments were genuine, and some of these I can even say that I knew for a fact were full of utter crap.

Let’s start with the “Like my status and I’ll message you 3 names to comment on” challenge. Uhm okay, it’s good to see that people have taken ways to get rid of boredom another step further with this. Never mind that. So, this challenge was initially meant to get rid of certain curiosities the person who posted the status may have had (if they still have them, my deepest condolences). But then, it either ended up going nowhere (again, condolences) or it ended up further than your bitchy mind may have ever imagined. I myself had the misfortune of receiving a few “What did I ever do to you?” type messages. Well, if you really didn’t have any trouble figuring out that I was talking about you, then don’t you think that’s where the problem lies and you should just embrace the truth about yourself instead of coming at me? Look up Tyrion Lannister’s quote about this for inspiration, seriously.

Then we have the “Comment your name and I’ll say something negative about you” challenge. Now, this is one I wasn’t a part of in any way whatsoever, because who the fuck are you to openly point out my flaws? The reason I emphasize “openly” is because you may think I’m contradicting myself, considering what I said about the first challenge, but I’m really not. If everything I said in my comment during the first challenge is something I’ve already said to your face, then there is no reason for you to consider it an insult, since it’s anonymous. In this challenge though, you are encouraging unnecessary humiliation, and don’t you think there’s enough negativity in the world already? We are all only human, and you’re damn right that there are negative things about us, but there’s no need to publicly promote that. Have some love, jeez.

Lastly, there’s the “Comment your name and I’ll give you a compliment” challenge. This one was completely fine as long as it was confined to friends spreading love. Unfortunately, the world isn’t perfect, and that confinement lasted shorter than Justin Bieber’s boner. Weird people you only know because you either went to the same school, or one of your close friends knows them started commenting their names. I mean, how are you supposed to compliment someone you barely know? You just tell them that, right? Wrong. You give them a fake compliment like the kiss-ass you are. I mean, that’s what everyone went by, I’m simply describing it.

Long story short, these challenges may have initially been “fun,” but they very quickly became nothing but pathetic. Just do your homework, tbh. Also, who comes up with these things anyway? Like no, seriously, WHO? If you’re reading this, which I highly doubt, a little more creativity next time, yeah? Yeah. Peace.

Author: Manaar Sadida, a high school graduate from William Carey Academy, on the verge of adulthood, and a feminist (“a person who believes in the equality of all genders,” for all you ignorant sexists) who calls a spade a spade and absolutely despises people with double standards (hypocrites). 

Fathers’ Day: An Open Letter to Abbu

Somewhere between “Abbu, amake eta kine dao please” and “Abbu, eta ekhon nah kinle’o cholbe,” I grew up. Or so I think. My father is someone who isn’t totally ecstatic about this day due to the whole “American vibe” of it, as some fathers tend to be. Despite that, every year, my brother and I make an effort to celebrate it with him in some small way or the other, and this is only a tiny contribution to that gesture. First things first – What do our fathers mean to us? What do they signify in our lives? For some of us, they are our confidante, or the fulfiller of all our downright bratty wishes. For some, they are the lecturer we occasionally (trying to be generous, here) hate listening to, or the benchmark of qualities we someday hold our significant others by. For others, fathers are their inspiration and moral compass, or the soft-hearted individual they go to ask permission from when their mothers say no. And for the rest, fathers are simply someone they terribly miss and would give anything to be by their sides again. Unfortunately, sometimes some people feel this way about their fathers despite living under the same roof. My father to me is some of these things, and more. Abbu, you are an outstanding individual. You go out of your way to be generous and encouraging towards everyone around you. You cherish your loved ones to the point that you sometimes spoil them. You try not to hurt people’s feelings, but at the same time, without sugarcoating anything. Let me tell you that to me, that is a paradox. You work hard despite being lazy at times. Again, paradox. You despise huge social gatherings reeking of small talk, but you have innumerable friends who are thankful for you. You make everything you take up your own, whether it be a sport or public speaking. You are overprotective and anxious at times, but let me confess to you today that I understand that all that comes only from a place of love. Lastly, in a society like ours, you are miles away from being the chauvinistic man who differentiates between his son and daughter, and that counts for something. I’m sure you’ve noticed the pattern of a few negative things by now, but I am your wife’s daughter and I have to be realistic. Nobody is perfect, and all of these are things that make you the loveable man that you are. To conclude, I would like to apologize for the times I was too busy boosting my ego, instead of accepting my mistakes. I would like to apologize for the times I have hurt you, and I promise you that it has always been unknowingly. I would like to apologize for the times I fell short in making you proud, despite you always maintaining my pride in being your daughter. Thank you for being the dramatic yet caring father that you are. Thank you for always catering to all my wants and needs. Thank you for letting me grow up. Thank you for the hard work you and Ammu have put in together at making our family what it is today. Thank you for being my father, in all the right senses of that word.

Author: Manaar Sadida, a high school graduate from William Carey Academy, on the verge of adulthood, and a feminist (“a person who believes in the equality of all genders,” for all you ignorant sexists) who calls a spade a spade and absolutely despises people with double standards (hypocrites). 

কিশোরদের জন্য নিরাপদ ইন্টারনেট – এক্সপার্ট ইনসাইট

সাইবার ওয়ার্ল্ড

সাইবার অর্থ অনলাইন দুনিয়া। অনলাইনের মাধ্যমে যা কিছু  আশা করা হয় তাকে সাইবার ওয়ার্ল্ড বলে। সাইবার ওয়ার্ল্ডে একে অপরের সাথে খুব দ্রুত যোগাযোগ রক্ষা করতে পারে আবার অনেক সময় অনেক ঘটনাও ঘটে যেতে পারে। সাইবার ওয়ার্ল্ডে যেমন পারস্পরিক সম্পর্ক রক্ষা হয় নানান সামাজিক যোগাযোগ মাধ্যম দ্বারা তেমনি নানান অপরাধমূলক কাজও সংগঠিত হতে পারে। সাইবার ওয়ার্ল্ডে যে সকল ক্রাইম বা অপরাধ সংগঠিত হয়ে থাকে তাকে Cyber Crime বলে।

আমরা জানি প্রত্যেকটি জিনিসের সুফল কুফল থাকে। কমবেশি এই সুফল নির্ভর করে আমরা কিভাবে কোন জিনিস ব্যবহার করছি তার উপরে। তেমনি সাইবার ওয়ার্ল্ড আমাদের জন্য সদা উন্মুখ হলেও এর সুষ্ঠু ব্যবহারই আমাদের দেশ ও জাতির জন্য মঙ্গলের হবে অন্যথায় তা তরুণ-তরুণীদের জন্য বা দেশের মানুষের জন্য অশনিসংকেত।

সাইবার ওয়ার্ল্ড বনাম টিনেজারস:

বাংলাদেশ এখন তরুণদের দেশ। যাকে আমরা বলি টিনেজারস। আমাদের দেশের ৪৯% মানুষের বয়স ২৭ বা তার নিচে। অর্থাৎ একটি বিরাট অংশ বলতে গেলে টিনেজারস। দেশে মোবাইল গ্রাহক সংখ্যা ১৬ কোটি ছাড়িয়েছে। যার মধ্যে ইন্টারনেটের গ্রাহক ৯ কোটি ৯৪ ২৮ লক্ষ হাজার। (সূত্র: BTRC)

উপরিউক্ত তথ্য থেকে সহজেই অনুনয়ে, তরুণ তরুণ জনসংখ্যার বিশাল অংশই ইন্টারনেট জগতের সাথে সুপরিচিত। কিন্তু এক্ষেত্রে কোনো মানুষের অবশ্যই জ্ঞান থাকা উচিত কি করবে এবং কি করবেনা।

তেমনি Cyber World এর ক্ষেত্রে কিছু নিয়মকানুন আছে, যে তারা অনলাইন জগতে কি করবে আর কি করবেনা। এক্ষেত্রে বর্তমান আধুনিক বিশ্বের সাথে তাল মিলিয়ে চলতে হলে টিনএজারদের অবশ্যই আপডেটেট থাকতে হবে এ বিষয়ে সন্দেহ নাই। তবে তাদেরকে পাশাপাশি ইন্টারনেট লিটারেসি সম্পর্কেও ধারণা রাখা উচিত।

বাংলাদেশে প্রতিদিন প্রায় ৩৭ হাজার নতুন ইন্টারনেট ব্যবহারকারী যোগ হচ্ছে তবে আমাদের দেশে টিনএজারসদের কাছে ইন্টারনেট বলতে ফেসবুক,ইমো,ভাইবার,হোয়াটস অ্যাপ ও ইউটিউবই মুখ্য। সাধারণত তারা এগুলোর মাধ্যমে সামাজিক যোগাযোগ রক্ষা করে থাকে। তথ্যের আদান প্রদান ঘটায় ও তাদের ব্যক্তিগত মতামত জানান দেবার পাশাপাশি নানা জিনিস শেয়ারিং করা,ছবি আপলোড দেওয়া,অনুভূতি বর্ণনা করার সুযোগও তারা এসব সামাজিক যোগাযোগ মাধ্যমে করে থাকে।

তবে বাস্তবিক অর্থে ইন্টারনেট ব্যবহারকারীর সংখ্যা বাড়লেও বাংলাদেশে ইন্টারনেট লিটারেসি বা সঠিক প্রশিক্ষণের কোন সুবিধা গড়ে ওঠেনি।এক্ষেত্রে ইন্টারনেটকে আমরা ছবি হিসেবে কল্পনা করলে বিষয়টি বুঝতে পরিষ্কার হবে।

ছুরি যেমন ভালো কাজে বা উপকারে আসে তেমনি অনভিজ্ঞ বা অসাবধানতাবশত কোন দুর্ঘটনা ঘটে যেতে বিলম্ব করেনা। তেমনি ইন্টারনেট ভাল কাজের পাশাপাশি এর মাধ্যমে দুর্ঘটনা ও সমস্যা হতে পারে। বিশ্বের অনেক দেশ তাই শিক্ষাকে স্কুল এর কার্যক্রমের অন্তর্গত করেছে। যার ফলে তাদের শিশু কিশোরেরা দায়িত্বশীল ব্যবহারের পাশাপাশি কিভাবে গুজব পরিহার নিজের একাউন্টের Privacy, অন্যের সাথে সম্মানজনক আচরণ, নৈতিকতা, তথ্য চুরি না করা, দেশের বিদ্যমান লঙ্ঘন না করা, পাশাপাশি দেশদ্রোহী কোন কর্মকান্ডে রাতে তারা জড়িত না হয় সে জন্যে সুষ্ঠুভাবে ইন্টারনেট ব্যবহারের বিষয়ে প্রশিক্ষণ নেয়। তাছাড়া Cyber Bullying বা হয়রানি প্রতিরোধ বা এগুলোর জন্য প্রতিকার ইত্যাদি বিষয়েও শেখে। কিন্তু আমাদের মত উন্নয়নশীল দেশের পক্ষে এখনও এ বিষয়গুলোকে জাতীয় বা রাষ্ট্রীয় পক্ষে খুববেশি নেওয়া সম্ভব নয়। কারণ, আমাদের দেশে Expert সংখ্যা কম বা প্রয়োজনানুযায়ী অনলাইন সেবা ট্রাইব্যুনালের তৎপর্যতা বিদ্যমান। এমতাবস্থায় নিজের সাইবার জগত নিজে নিজে সাজানো এবং দায়িত্বশীলভাবে ব্যবহার করা প্রতিটি তরুণ-তরুণীদের উচিত। তারা তাদের বিবেকবুদ্ধি কাজে লাগিয়ে পারস্পরিক মূল্যবোধ শ্রদ্ধাশীলতা ইত্যাদি অনুযায়ী আমাদের সমাজ ও সংস্কৃতি অনুযায়ী আমাদের ব্যক্তি ও আচরণের প্রতিফলন ঘটানো উচিত সবক্ষেত্রে। সেটি হোক সমাজ জীবনে বা সামাজিক যোগাযোগ মাধ্যমে।

আমেরিকার Ministry of Internal Affairs & Communications Internet Literacy কে এভাবে সংজ্ঞায়িত করেছেন:-

•             ইন্টারনেটের অবৈধ ও ক্ষতিকারক বিষয়গুলো বোঝা ও তা থেকে দূরে থাকা।

•             ইন্টারনেটের মাধ্যমে সঠিকভাবে এবং অপরকে সম্মান করে যোগাযোগ করার ক্ষমতা।

•             নিজের বা নিজের একাউন্টের ব্যক্তিগত তথ্যাদি গোপন রাখা।

সাইবার জগতের কার্যক্রমের মধ্যে যে ভুল সচরাচর করে থাকে:

•             গুজব ছড়ানো।

•             আইনগতভাবে ভিক্তিহীন কোন নিউজ শেয়ার দেওয়া।

•             বুলিং।

•             অন্যের ব্যক্তিগত ছবি বা তথ্য ফাঁস করা।

•             দেশের প্রচলিত আইনের বাইরে গিয়ে কোন কার্যক্রম অনলাইনের মাধ্যমে করা।

•             কারও তথ্য চুরি করা।

•             ভুল সংবাদ শেয়ার দেওয়া।

•             রাষ্ট্রদ্রোহী কোন কাজ করা।

•             ধর্মীয় উসকানিমূলক কথা বলা।

•             বিদ্বেষ ছড়ানো।

•             নিজের ব্যক্তিগত ছবির Privacy রাখতে না পারা।

•             যেকোন ওয়েবসাইটে প্রবেশ করা।

•             একাধিক ডিভাইস দিয়ে আইডিতে ঢোকা।

•             ট্রলিং করা।

এই বিষয় গুলো করা যাবে না। একটা সুন্দর Cyber Space তৈরী করতে আমাদের দরকার এই নিয়ম কানুন গুলো মেনে চলা।

লেখক –

আব্দুল্লাহ আল জাবের হৃদয়

সাইবার সিকিউরিটি স্পেশালিষ্ট

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