Yearly Archives :

2016

Empowering Ideas for an Inclusive World

3969 1388 Shaveena Anam

It has been a year since I have been working at BYLC, and it has been a remarkable experience watching and learning how leadership can be taught. I have had the opportunity to meet young people from different backgrounds and observe interesting dynamics between people who normally would not have met each other. I have watched as common assumptions were challenged in class, stereotypes were broken during group activities, and fears were conquered during public speaking workshops. read more

Being a Leader

1920 1255 Zehra Nawreen Khan

This article was originally published in Star Weekend, The Daily Star.

”What makes a leader?”

This question was asked by the lead instructor, Khaled Saifullah, to my class, on the first day of the Building Bridges through Leadership Training (BBLT) program at BYLC. Each of us produced different answers. One participant said, “A leader is someone who mobilizes people”. Another said, “A leader is one who takes initiatives”, “A leader is someone everyone looks up to”, “A leader motivates, inspires and represents people,” the comments poured in. Khaled Bhai neither refuted any idea nor did he rule one as accurate. Geared up with pens and notebooks, we all waited intently for him to give us the answer. A moment of silence ensued, accompanied by confusion. We looked at one another, some of us shifting in our seats, others trying to hide their growing anxiety. As the restlessness became palpable, we waited for him to relieve our tension. There came no answer and on that momentous first day we never ended up learning what qualities define a leader. But this was only the beginning.

The BBLT journey, for me, was a rewarding experience, one that tore at my convictions but exposed me to a world of opportunities. Thrusting myself into new territory, I was able to transcend the limits of thought, and gained the confidence to initiate action addressing social issues that are important to me.

Once we were equipped with the rights tools, the second phase of the program required us to implement what we learned in the real world and catalyze social change. This was the hard part; no matter how many books you read on leadership, nothing can prepare you for practical situations, if you lack the knowledge acquired by experience. My teammates and I chose a makeshift school for the street children in the vicinity of Panthokunja Public Park, as we were familiar with the area. After brainstorming different ideas and assessing the site, we came up with a plan to help the school.

We felt that, in addition to poverty alleviation, lack of access to essential services such as primary education, basic healthcare, water sanitation, nutrition, etc. are the most pressing issues and overarching challenges facing Bangladesh. Due to lack of access to essential services in underprivileged communities, our group, Project Lighthouse, decided to work on raising awareness about education, health and hygiene among the underprivileged children attending the school, as well as delivering modest support services to improve their standard of living. However, since we only had modest resources to aid our project, we decided to focus on education and sanitation. We planned to donate an electronic projector so that they could learn from different visual mediums, and to install a portable toilet to ensure better sanitation.

The challenges we faced to achieve our mission were formidable. One such instance was when we realized that it is easier said than done to install the toilet. We needed prior permission from City Corporation before we could put it in place. The City Corporation recognized the importance of the matter for provision of sanitation facilities to the community .It was fortunate for the community and us that they agreed to donate a toilet from their own resources. We then had to revise our plans, but it could not overshadow the joy and satisfaction of making a small difference in the lives of those students.

So, back to the question at hand, ‘what makes a leader?’ Without having the answer laid out in front of us, we learned what we needed to through experiential sessions. It is this heuristic approach to learning that enabled us to discover our potential and develop qualities attributed to leaders. Going into the program, we all had our individual concepts about what ‘leadership’ meant and we realized that none of them can be ruled out as either accurate or otherwise. But one thing that we learned on Day 1 is that when there is a crisis, a leader is one who does not look up to authority for answers.

Heading Towards a Common Platform

1920 1255 Zannatul Ferdous Miftah

This article was originally published in Star Weekend, The Daily Star. 

“What is the main purpose of your life?” was the most frequently asked question throughout my two and a half month journey during the Building Bridges through Leadership Training (BBLT) at Bangladesh Youth Leadership Center (BYLC).If the purpose of our life was just to live, then we all would fail one day. So I would say the purpose of my life is to mobilize people towards taking action for a common good.

I realized that the successful completion of the 12th BBLT program was not the end, but the embryo of my leadership journey. I took the chance to apply to be a campus ambassador for the 13th BBLT program. Ambassadors were recruited from different renowned institutions of Dhaka, including Viqarunnisa Noon College, University of Dhaka, Bangladesh University of Engineering & Technology, Bangladesh University of Professionals, Islamic University of Technology, BRAC University, East West University.

The Campus Ambassador has the responsibility of encouraging students of their respective education institutions to apply to BYLC programs. Initially, the role of a campus ambassador did not seem very tough to me as I was a fresh graduate of BBLT 12 and had the zeal to bring more young and bright minds under the tutelage of BLYC. I had personally identified many enthusiastic individuals with potential who just needed the appropriate push in the right direction. So, I had to convince the tender hearts to apply to the BBLT program to get their long awaited common platform, and meet other likeminded individuals from diverse backgrounds.

As I worked as Campus Ambassador, I was one again reminded of how important it is to talk about the tenets of leadership to the youth of Bangladesh. There is a common perception that leadership can only by exercised by people in authority positions, such as politicians. But at BYLC, we absorbed the idea that that leadership is all about taking the appropriate action at the appropriate time, the power does not only lie with political parties! So I took my time in explaining to people that leadership is an inherent potential in every individual, all we have to do is to bring the maximum output by utilizing it.

We used the consent letter provided by BYLC to take the permission from the university authority to set up a booth for the applicants at TSC and also post BYLC posters at Curzon Hall, Faculty of Business Studies, Arts Faculty notice board and also to the residential halls and cafeterias at different corner of the campus. We also went on FM radio to talk about our initiatives.

Covering the large campus, postering, passionately giving presentations wearing BYLC’s green polo T-shirt with my fellow campus ambassadors Mahia, Jubaer and Joy was never hectic, rather, we learned from each other, made new friends and preceded towards fulfilling BYLC’s mission to bridge gaps in society by uniting youth from diverse backgrounds, equipping them with leadership, problem solving, teamwork skills and engaging them in community service and active citizenship. By working as Campus Ambassador, I was able to expand my network and maintain new relationships with the academic professionals, clubs and students of my university. The activities enabled me to develop my communication and teamwork skills and I became more confident in giving presentations.

Performing the responsibilities of a campus ambassador was challenging but also exciting and a continuous learning process. I would encourage anyone who wonders about their purpose, to take on leadership roles such as these because no matter how big or small the task, it eventually leads toward making progress for the common good.

Readying the Future Today

1920 1255 Tasnim Jara

This article was originally published in Star Weekend, The Daily Star.

Can leadership be taught in a classroom? We are confronted with this question every day when we teach leadership to a diverse group of enthusiastic young students at Bangladesh Youth Leadership Center (BYLC). Leadership is a generic term that everyone has an opinion about, which makes the job of teaching leadership all the more challenging. read more

Connecting, Collaborating and Co-creating

1920 1255 Iqra L. Qamari

This article was originally published in Shout, The Daily Star. 

As the countdown begun on the enormous screen, the massive crowd joined in, echoing across the hall, the descending of the numbers. The concluding footage showed the alliance of hundreds of delegates, boasted of 30 renowned speakers, of zero selfie count and Facebook scrolling; at the end of it everyone broke into applause.

This was how the Youth Leadership Summit conducted by Bangladesh Youth Leadership Center (BYLC) finally finished its three-day program on August 21. The summit was held at the International Convention City, Bashundhara in Dhaka, bringing together around 400 national and international delegates after a rigorous selection procedure. It consisted of leadership sessions, plenaries and keynote speeches from notable visionaries. read more

Breaking Stereotypes

2167 1417 Noshin Noorjahan

Where in Dhaka do you ever see girls from English medium schools casually socialize with boys from Madrassas as equals? I was suddenly struck by the question as I walked into the first day of leadership training at the Bangladesh Youth Leadership Center (BYLC). In the classroom, a group of girls from Viqarunnisa were laughing together, some boys in skullcaps had grouped in one part of the class, and I automatically sat with some girls who looked familiar to me. read more

Speaking in Public: The Double Edged Sword

2592 1728 Rafaeal Hossain

“Words have incredible power. They can make people’s hearts soar, or they can make people’s hearts sore.”- Dr. Mardy Grothe read more

Changing Your Story

2736 1824 Jahedul Islam

My leadership journey began when I was a first year Alim student. The Sajeda Foundation encouraged me to apply to the Building Bridges through Leadership Training program as I had always been involved in different extracurricular activities. My interest was particularly aroused by the term “leadership”, as I had always wanted to do something of purpose, but was self conscious, and doubted my ability to mobilize people. I felt that people wouldn’t listen to me. read more

7 Ways to Get Your Voice Heard

2736 1824 Jo Lovatt

Everyone should have an “elevator pitch” ready to go at all times, whether it is about you or about your project. If someone says, “tell me about yourself”, you should be able to give them a well-rounded picture of your successes and ambitions in 2 minutes or less. read more

The Abiding Tyranny of the Male Leadership Model — A Manifesto

1600 1000 Barbara Kellerman

I’m sick of hearing how far we’ve come. I’m sick of hearing how much better situated we are now than before. I’m sick of hearing how women are closing the gaps (in health outcomes, educational attainment, and economic participation), how in some cases women are superseding men, and how in the present more than in the past women are progressing to positions of middle and upper management. read more

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