Students of Shondipon present a group song at the event. Photo: Neloy Hossain.
On October 17 evening, a cultural programme titled 'Alokito Shondha' was held at Winter Garden, Dhaka Sheraton Hotel. The event was made memorable thanks to performances by renowned artistes Andrew Kishore, Farida Parveen and Kanakchapa. Former 'Close-Up 1' contestant Rafat and Shoron, Uday from 'Khude Gaanraj' were there as well. Gram Bikash Shohayok Shongstha (an NGO) organised the event for Shondipon (a school that works with differently-abled children.
The programme began at 7:45pm with an opening speech by Masuda Faruk Ratna, executive member of Gram Bikash Shohayok Shongstha. In her speech she thanked financial institutions -- NCC Bank Ltd, National Bank Ltd, Mercantile Bank Ltd, First Security Bank Ltd, Shahjalal Bank Ltd, Standard Bank Ltd, Dutch Bangla Bank Ltd, South East Bank Ltd, Prime Bank Ltd and Premier Bank Ltd for extending helping hands to a good cause.
The chief guest, Deputy Speaker of the Parliament Shawkat Ali could not attend the event due to illness.
“According to a recent study by World Health Organisation (WHO), around 10 percent of the children are mentally or physically disabled,” said Dr. Rasheduddin Ahmed, chief adviser, Gram Bikash Shohayok Shongstha. “The privileges and facilities are very minimum for these kids; the situation is worse in rural Bangladesh. Shondipon is doing a commendable job since 1970 in this sector. My kudos to all who are working tirelessly in this regard.”
“The concept that 'disabled' children are 'differently-abled' needs to be acknowledged by the society,” said Md Nurul Kabir, Bangladesh Pratibandhi Unnayan Foundation.
“Although we get sponsors and funds for projects like primary healthcare, etc, new and innovative projects are still eyed with suspicion such as educating disabled children,” said Dilruba Haider, chairperson, Gram Bikash Shohayok Shongstha. “It has to be proven that these children can also have a healthy and successful life, regardless of their disabilities.”
The musical programme started with children of Shondipon singing the national anthem. The audience was mesmerised by the next group rendition: "Amra korbo jai". All the children stood together, united and cheerful -- this truly was a joyous occasion. They were holding candles as well, which made the performance 'alokito' or 'enlightened'.
“Shondipon is a school that helps educating disabled children in Narsingdi,” said Masuda Faruk Ratna. “This programme is a way to reach out to all, as for the last seven months the organisation hasn't received any funding and we had been running it on our own initiatives. We want to give these children a platform and opportunities. We want their active participation.”
Most of the children who had never performed in front of such a big crowd were thoroughly overwhelmed.
Channel i was the media partner of the show.