An awareness campaign was launched nationally on 31st August, 2021 at the initiative of Probha Aurora. As part of this awareness campaign, reusable masks and protectors will be distributed among rickshaw pullers in every divisional city across the country at free of cost. This important program was started from Rangpur division. Country Coordinator of UNV Bangladesh, Md. Akhtar Uddin announced the inauguration of this program at the national level at 7.30 pm on 31st August, 2021. At this time important personalities from home and abroad and representatives of various organizations were present.
In the speech of the Chief Guest Country Coordinator of UNV Bangladesh Md. Akhtar Uddin said, Volunteering is a powerful tool through which we are human civilization or the total human development process that is always playing a significant role in this place. I thank Probha Aurora for giving these young people a platform. Our government and the UN Development Partners all need to work together and I think if we can work together, we can give more volunteers a chance. And thank you so much for this wonderful initiative. At the same time, he highlighted various important aspects of the awareness and distribution activities undertaken by Probha Aurora, saying, “I have seen this activity in a comprehensive way.” Through this, the volunteers will also get the opportunity to become environmentally conscious. He mentioned that in the near future he would jointly with Probha Aurora undertake various capacity building programs for the volunteers and also promised to provide technical advice to Probha Aurora.
Bidhan Chandra Pal, Founder and Managing Director of Probha Aurora gave a welcome address on the occasion. In his welcome address, he said, “We are more or less aware of the health risks of rickshaw pullers.” Citing several studies in recent times, he said rickshaw pullers are at high health risk. We have also seen news of fever, cough, cold and heat stroke in the media. We are noticing frequent rains due to climate change in recent times, noticing that the sun’s temperature is rising. As a result, we have decided to distribute free Protectors/Mathals and reusable masks among the rickshaw pullers across the country. In fact, we have adopted this idea with a number of objectives, including raising awareness of Covid-19 among rickshaw pullers through utilizing 18–35 years old youth, highlighting the importance of preserving the country’s history and heritage, highlighting the harmful aspects of polythene and plastic, and reviving lost arts and crafts. “Through these activities, we also want to develop the practice of professional volunteerism,” he said.
The program was conducted by Dr. Aftab Uddin, Advisor to Probha Aurora and Chairperson of Public Health Foundation. Representatives of various important organizations at home and abroad also participated in the discussion. Prominent writer and researcher Dr. Ghulam Murshid, Specialist in Science behind Computation Bhaswati Ray from America, BCC specialist Kanta Devi and others expressed their feelings briefly.
It is pertinent to mention that on 31st August, 2021 at 12 noon in front of the office of the Deputy Commissioner of Rangpur (Kachari Bazar, Rangpur), on behalf of the Rangpur District Administration, Additional Deputy Commissioner (Overall) Md. Golam Rabbani was present as the chief guest in the “Protector & reusable mask distribution for rickshaw pullers” program. The Rangpur event was sponsored by Concord Group and Bhaswati Roy, Specialist in Science behind Computation from the United States. Today, these awareness and distribution activities are conducted mainly from two places in Rangpur. After the inauguration was announced in front of the Deputy Commissioner’s Office, the next distribution was held in front of the Press Club. Mr. Mahbub Rahman Habu, President of Rangpur Press Club, Mr. Rafiq Sarkar, General Secretary of the Press Club, Mr. Manik Sarkar Manik, Senior Journalist and Mr. Siddiqur Rahman spoke on the occasion and took part in the awareness program while encouraging the event. The event runs for five days from five major locations in Rangpur. During this time 300 protectors and 600 reusable masks were distributed among 300 rickshaw pullers.
In addition to distribution, a special survey was conducted to find out the results or effects of this program. It is pertinent to mention that on the basis of the guidelines reviewed by the World Health Organization; special orientation is provided to all these volunteers before implementing the program.
The event is broadcasted live on Probha Aurora’s Facebook page (link):