Hafsa’s remarkable feats in community development

Hafsa Tasnim received the IVD Bangladesh Volunteer Award 2021 for her community development activities. Photo: courtesy

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Hafsa Tasnim received the IVD Bangladesh Volunteer Award 2021 for her community development activities. Photo: courtesy

Hafsa Tasnim, a student at Bangladesh Agricultural University, received the IVD Bangladesh Volunteer Award 2021 for her community development activities. The event, titled “Voluntary Contributions to Community Development in Bangladesh”, was organized by the Ministry of Local Government, Rural Development and Cooperatives, UNV Bangladesh, UNFPA, VSO and WaterAid.

Hafsa’s tireless efforts to coordinate women’s self-defense training and raise awareness against dowry-related violence for Bonhishikha earned her the 6th position among 20 volunteers. Bonhishikha is a Dhaka-based non-profit feminist organization advocating for gender equality and women’s empowerment.

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“One of the many challenges I face is the lack of adequate facilities, such as clean toilets or security. I don’t always have the opportunity to participate in activities on the pitch or even when I do, I have to leave early because I have a strict curfew,” she said.

Hoping to enlighten, enrich and entertain young people, Hafsa and her friends founded Team Utsav. It is an organization for people who like to celebrate festivals – both religious and seasonal. When Hafsa began her college life, there were no arts clubs or faculty, much to her dismay.

“I am a fun-loving person who believes that pursuing cultural traditions should be an extension of the curriculum. Nothing brings people together like festivals because they teach us the importance of community and strengthen the principles of a society. That is why my friends and I felt the need to create the Utsav team during our freshman year of college,” Hafsa shared.

The Utsav team joins its future objectives which are to continue working to improve the lives of farmers. For this, she believes she can put to good use the skills and lessons she learned from her undergraduate degree.

“I want the Utsav team to grow and have branches in other universities. My goal is to encourage social cohesion through all kinds of festivals and to bring together people from all religious, economic and social backgrounds”, Hafsa said.

Hafsa is also involved in Green Voice Bangladesh, an environmental youth organization. Additionally, she is working to establish schools for underprivileged children in her home district of Khulna.

Hafsa is currently working in Bangladesh Betar and hopes to be a news presenter soon.

The author is a BRAC University student and freelance journalist. Email: [email protected]

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