Youths should be given a chance to take the country forward: Saima Wazed Hossain

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Published on September 7, 2020
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Autism specialist Saima Wazed Hossain, the vice-chairperson of the Centre for Research and Information or CRI, has called for giving the youth a chance to take Bangladesh forward.

Referring to how Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman became the founding father of the nation after getting involved in politics to safeguard the interests of his community, Saima also urged all to change their view that the youth “know less”.

Bangabandhu’s grand-daughter and daughter of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Saima was speaking at the final session of the latest seven-episode season of Let’s Talk.

Young Bangla, the youth platform of the Awami League’s research wing CRI, organised the show online this time due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“Let’s change the idea that young people know less. It’s not right. The youth know much more. They can show the path. And it’s in our history, too,” Saima said.

“If we think of our Liberation War, the founder of our nation, my Nana [grandfather] Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, we can see that he began as a youth volunteer when he worked for the needs of his community,” she said.

“He didn’t begin his life’s work doing politics or with a large organisation. Those came later in his life. In his early life, he saw a gap in his community and worked to help his fellows,” said Saima, ambassador of the Climate Vulnerable Forum.

“That’s where he began rising. His leadership qualities were created there, from his youth, from his community activism. He had some moral values and drives of his own. He followed that compass.

“It’s not that he didn’t face any obstacle. He did face many hurdles but created opportunities from where his leadership qualities grew. That’s why we finally got established as a nation. He learnt from there [youth],” Saima said.

“So, we need to begin learning these things when we are young. And if we want the development of Bangladesh, it is our duty to create the opportunities for the youth,” she added.

She also emphasised removing the obstacles so that the youth can work.

“It’s not that we will have to do everything for them specifically. They can do these themselves. What we need to do is to check whether we’ve kept any hurdle inadvertently for them,” she said.

Saima, a CRI trustee, also discussed the proposals placed in the three-day show.

“We should think about why we are sending our children to schools, whether the schools are ready for our youths, what they are learning there. Are they just learning their lessons or values and the essence of nationalism as well? Or how will they contribute to the country and engage in their communities?” she asked.

“Are they learning how they will better their environment? It is clear that they want [to learn this]. We should do these things,” she said.

The series of webinars involving young minds and policymakers aimed to discuss ways for faster recovery in the post-COVID-19 era.

Young Bangla launched the signature programme to facilitate interactions between grassroots activists and politicians, especially the young ones, in 2014.

Hasina also joined the programme in 2018 to listen to the thoughts and ideas of the young generation and share her views with them.

Her son and ICT Affairs Adviser Sajeeb Wazed Joy took part in the programme several times.

Besides Saima, Planning Minister MA Mannan, Young Bangla Convenor Nahim Razzaq, and the Prime Minister’s Principal Secretary Ahmad Kaikaus took part in the final episode of the latest season moderated by Nobonita Chowdhury.

Mannan called for more proposals from the youth for the upcoming Eighth Five-Year Plan.

“The prime minister has driven us onto the highway of development. The youth will have to take us further forward,” he said.