My name is Shahida Akhter. I am a UNV from Bangladesh since 1991, worked with UN Peacekeeping Mission in Cambodia during 1992-93. Being a UNV, I have been working both individually and with the groups to help the people in natural disasters, in health sector, environment and promoting basic education to the under-privileged children, adolescent and adults associated with UNICEF, Save the Children, Habitat for Humanity International and other NGOs in Bangladesh. I was the Chairperson of UNV Advocacy Committee in 2009, our partners are UNMC, UNIC, UNAID, Habitat for Humanity International, VSO, JICA, KOICA and other voluntary organizations, who are closely working with the policy makers, NGOs, development agencies, civil society members and media personnel with the objectives of promoting voluntary activities to achieve MDGs and ensure recognition of the volunteers at national and social level. We have prepared a Draft of “National Volunteer Policy” and delivered it to the government.
Bangladesh is a country of natural disaster. Every year people have to face devastated cyclone and storms. As an individual volunteer, I helped many cyclone-affected people in the costal areas of Bangladesh. I raised fund to help cyclone Sidr-victims in 2007 and distributed relief personally to many people. Since then I took the responsibility of an injured boy of 14 years, who was about to die. I helped him getting treatment in the hospital, who had gone through surgery three times. He was from completely bed-ridden. He hailed from a very poor family. I supported him financially, and collected fund for his treatment. After three months physiotherapy in CRP Dhaka and Savar, he was able to seat on a wheel chair. Still I am trying to get him improved treatment so that he can walk and continue his study.
Moreover, I write education materials for disadvantaged children and mass people, these are being distributed by the UNICEF and the NGOs to the learners.
We have arranged a number of workshops on National Volunteer Policy involving the Ministry of Youth, Ministry of Natural disaster and the voluntary organizations. We celebrated IVD with the voluntary organizations through various activities, involving the youth groups, students and the volunteers of different sectors. The program includes: Cleaning campaign in the educational institutions, rally and campaign for better health and environment, Blood donation camp, Art competition for children, Tree plantation, Building Homes for Homeless and award giving to the best volunteers. At present, I am working on arsenic pollution and its harmfull affect on children and other people.
Shahida Akhter, UNV, Bangladesh