Bangladesh is a South Asian country that encircles the Bay of Bengal. With 20.5% of the population living below the poverty line in 2019, community building is incredibly beneficial to the nation. The JAAGO Foundation in Bangladesh is a youth movement that began in 2007 to provide improved education for future generations while encouraging citizens to get more involved in their communities to break the poverty cycle.
5 Facts About the JAAGO Foundation
- Origins: JAAGO Foundation began in a single room in the Rayer Bazar slum. In April 2007, Korvi Rakshand and a group of friends rented a room in the Rayer Bazar slum of Dhaka, Bangladesh, with a vision of improving the lives of the local youth. Now executive director of the JAAGO Foundation, Rakshand had previously worked in London as a marketing Assistant, student coordinator and event manager. However, he strived to do something more meaningful with his life to make a significant change in the world. From the single room, Rakshand and his friends began teaching 17 local children from the area. The very “first supporting project” of the JAAGO Foundation in Bangladesh was a relief supply distribution in response to a flood that ravished the Rayer Bazar in 2007.
- Education: Education reform is a top goal of the organization. In 2022, about 98% of Bangladeshi “children of primary school age” are enrolled in schools in Bangladesh. However, many students have difficulty with basic reading skills. In spring 2018, a USAID-funded study in Bangladesh revealed that 44% of students who complete the first grade cannot “read their first word” and 27% of students completing the third grade could not “read with comprehension.” In addition, about “20% of all students drop out before completing fifth grade.” Quality education is essential to improving the economy of Bangladesh because most jobs require foundational skills, which many people lack if they do not receive proper schooling. The JAAGO Foundation in Bangladesh has completed several projects that promote and encourage youth to complete their education to break cycles of poverty. The Future We Want program, running from December 2019 to May 2020, provided direct benefits to “320 youth participants” from four Bangladeshi districts. The project’s goal was to provide students with knowledge of “civic engagement, education and employment” while developing networks to prepare youth for the workforce. Participants connected with young leaders and experts who provided them with tools and knowledge to enhance their understanding of the importance of education and the future labor market. Four seminars taught students about employable skills, employment and entrepreneurship possibilities. The project also reached 500,000 individuals “through mass media and social media.”
- COVID-19: The organization works to reduce COVID-19 cases in Bangladesh. The JAAGO Foundation in Bangladesh also aims to educate youth on reducing the spread of COVID-19. With nearly 2 million cases and more than 29,000 deaths in Bangladesh by March 15, 2022, efforts to decrease COVID-19 infections are crucial. JAAGO implemented the Apnar Mask Kothay project that ran from January 28, 2022, to January 31, 2022. For three days, 7,000 youth volunteers in 64 districts of Bangladesh worked to raise awareness of mask usage to combat the spread of COVID-19. Volunteers handed out masks and pamphlets about COVID-19 to citizens while debunking COVID-19 misconceptions in public spaces such as mosques, bus stops and streets. The volunteers reached around 1 million beneficiaries.
- Volunteer for Bangladesh: In 2011, the JAAGO Foundation in Bangladesh pioneered a youth wing called Volunteer for Bangladesh with assistance from the U.S. Embassy. What began with just 500 volunteers has now skyrocketed to 40,000 registered volunteers who work in 56 districts of Bangladesh. Volunteer for Bangladesh aims to motivate youth to get involved with volunteerism and leadership that would positively impact their communities. Projects include Water and Sanitation for All, the Great Kindness Challenge and Child Rights UCD.
- Anyone Can Get Involved: Opportunities presented by the JAAGO Foundation in Bangladesh are not exclusive to the people of Bangladesh. Those who are interested can donate to the welfare of underprivileged children of JAAGO. One can also sponsor a child for $27 a month and provide them with necessary school supplies and meals or register to become a volunteer.
The JAAGO Foundation in Bangladesh is paving the way for improved education and leadership opportunities for citizens. The organization’s work has seen success so far and will continue to benefit the country for future generations.
– Megan Quinn