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Cutting and polishing rough gemstones!
Old 7th August 2010, 02:40 PM   #1
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Default Cutting and polishing rough gemstones!

What one migrant to Australia is doing to help the community in his country of origin. If you would like to participate or help in this worthy cause please contact Amin Rahman or visit his website www.ozma.org.

A simple and inexpensive project to open the gate and show the opportunities available in the big outside world to young kids in Bangladesh who have no one to guide them.

Stage 1

Hassan is a 19 years old boy. He appeared in SSC (year 10 exam) - passed all subjects except Maths. He does not want to study anymore. He works as a trainee Air-conditioning and Refrigeration mechanic with about a dozen other similar kids in a shop providing all types of electrical services and which is located below my apartment in Shegun Bagicha (Dhaka).

When in Dhaka we have to use the services of this shop all the time to fix all mechanical and electrical problems in our apartment. Thus, I have come to know them very well and I find them very cheerful, well behaved, intelligent, eager to learn what is happening outside their street etc. But none of them are interested in studying any more. Like all youths in Bangladesh they all want to go abroad to work.

Last December (2009), I found that Hassan and another trainee, called Kuddus, could both understand me a little when I talked to them slowly in English. I told them to talk among themselves in English. They laughed and said that English was for people living in Gulshan (the rich area in Dhaka). I told them that it was all nonsense.

The English language or any language was not the property of any group. Anyone could talk in English and I asked them to continue practising whatever English they knew and could speak. They took my advice seriously and met after work daily and practised talking in English.

This time (July 2010) I found Kuddus had left the shop as he got a job as an Air-conditioning mechanic. But Hassan was still there. Hassan said that he and Kuddus, who lives near his home, still meet daily after work to practise speaking in English. I found that Hassan had improved a lot and could understand me well and also talked to me without feeling shy.

I took him and another person (my carpenter's son, Bishwajit, living in Hazaribagh) to my seminar at Dhaka University and talked with them in English for 15 minutes in front of the seminar participants who were all professionals. My main message was that one did not have to spend money and attend a three month course to learn English. All one needed was practice, practice and practice. Naturally, the participants were both surprised and impressed. Some were stunned and some even asked them questions in English.

Stage 2.

I then told these kids that they should all get familiar with computers. After all government policy was to make it ‘Digital’ Bangladesh. I told them that I would first introduce them to touch typing using their five fingers.

They were again shy but interested. I told them that I would take them to the Internet Cafe opposite my house and teach them to use the Typing Tutor software that I had brought with me. So that they did not think it was totally free and they could (mis)use my money and time I told them that if they used the Cafe for typing practice I would pay half (Tk 15) and they would have to pay the other half (another Tk 15).

Again, Hassan and my carpenter's son, Bishajit, took the first initiative. They practised daily from 30 minutes to 1 hour each day and saw their typing speed improving from 5 words per minute to over 20 words per minute first using two four, six fingers and eight fingers in two hands.

Bishajeet, who is a trained tailor, was coming from the other side of the Buriganga river and was spending Tk 30 each day for travelling. He wanted to reduce his cost further. He first found an internet cafe near his place which charged Tk 40 per hour, Tk 10 more than the cafe in front of my apartment. But still he would save the Tk 30 transport charge and some time travelling time. So he took the software on a pen drive and took it to the new cafe and used it there for a few days. Next he found an old school friend of his, who lives near him, who had completed his masters, works and has his own computer. His friend was happy to let Bishajeet use his computer.

Similar thing happened with Hassan. He said there is a "brother" (anyone coming from the village to live with a relative or known person is called a brother) who had completed his school, college and university studies while staying with them and now worked as a journalist at
bdnews.com, an online Bangladeshi English newspaper He has his own computer and naturally agreed to let Hassan use it for practising his typing etc.

So many good things resulted from this - renewing old friendship, being able to talk computers with friend and "brother" living in the house etc.

I have told both that before December (my next planned visit to Dhaka) they should both aim to type blind with all ten fingers at the minimum speed of 40 words per minute. Then they could claim to be typists as well as air-conditioning mechanic or tailor as the case may be. Two skills are better than one, I told them. They agreed.

I also told them that I will teach them word processing, excel spreadsheet, emailing and other basics in computing etc. The other kids working in the shop also showed interest and promised that some of them will get into it after getting some initial training from Hassan.

Stage 3:

I also found out that Hassan and another kid working in the shop were good singers. They were both self trained. I recorded five songs sung by Hassan and made a CD and gave it to him. He was naturally thrilled.

Stage 4:

I am now trying to get old desk top computers from Dhaka, which people are replacing by new ones, as well as old notebooks from Australia, which I can carry with me to Dhaka.

If anyone can help with either please let me know.

Again, I will not give the desktops or notebooks free to anyone. First a person will have to show that they have reached a certain standard (incentive) to become eligible to get a computer and then they will have to pay a token price like Tk 1000 so that they do not think that they are getting something free.

The Tk 1000 will be returned to the donor or, if the donor does not want the money, it will be used elsewhere in the project. Let us see how it goes. The receiver will have full details about the donor and the donor will have details, including address, of the receiver. The donor can either communicate with the receiver or, if they ever visit Bangladesh, can catch up with him.

Note: 1 AUD = Tk 60
1 US$ = Tk 70

What a great initiative Amin!


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