NGO “Mati Bangladesh” organized a 6 day long Volunteer Work Camp (VWC) in November 2016 to raise awareness on the Climate Change and Organic Agriculture issues among the interested Volunteers in Sherpur. Mati Bangladesh and Studio MFPS executed the VWC which was designed to make Volunteers understand the usefulness of Organic Farming’s contribution towards Poverty Reduction and Climate Change as well covering various Sustainable Development Goals. News Hour was the media partner for the Work Camp
A group of 30 Volunteers attended VWC including International, National and local people. They were responsible for Caring Compost to the crop field, preparation of Varmi Compost, preparation of Organic pesticides, paddy cutting, freshening and caring, cleaning weeds and hoeing, Fencing the waste area, Taking care of Autistic children, Managing School students and Classroom & blackboard painting at the day time and group study & discussion at the evening. They were provided with healthy & nutritious organic rice and vegetables.
Volunteers were form different sectors such as University and College students, Development Workers, Physiotherapist and Adventure Activist. Everyone could share their ideas among the group and were thankful to MATI for such gathering. “I had a negative impression on NGOs and after visiting MATI, I can say I was wrong and I should have involved in these activities earlier…” expressed by one of the Volunteers Masum, he is a student of Jahangirnagar University.
Lenen Rahaman, Founder and ED of Mati Bangladesh shared his motivation of initiating Mati. He felt an inner desire to do something for the people of Bangladesh while he was away in Germany. With his family support he started in 1997 and from 1999 MATI has been financially supported by few German Federal Organizations, Charity Church and Foundations
Mati formulated AsharAlo school scholarship program in order to assist poor parents in their dilemma. This project wants be a “ray of hope” on which the young generation can go up into a better future. MATI supports children from primary school. These scholarships have proven themselves as an excellent tool to protect girls from child marriage. In general, they protect poor children from being sent to work in exploitative conditions.
VWC was designed to educate the Volunteers of the recent condition of Global Warming and its causes beside field work. Few documentaries and movies showed on Climate Change and Micro Debt. There was the description of human contribution in CO2 production as well as the affect of Industrialization in the atmosphere including Carbon Foot Print and Carbon Tax also Country ranking as per Carbon production percentage. How SDGs are interconnected to each other and so on. They had many group discussion and presentation as well. One of the Volunteers Md. Mohiuddin, who is an Adventure Activist said, “I have attended so many workshops, seminars but I never had such clear understanding on Global Warming and Climate Change issues before”. Another Volunteer showed her grievance that in last eight years being a Development Worker she could never officially work and concentrate on Climate Change issues.
One of the International Volunteers Joana Beushausen said, she did not have the idea of how Bangladesh is being affected by the Global Warming and she thanked Organizers for the Camp.
Mati Bangladesh has been awarded the 2nd UNIFEM prize in 2004 for its Poverty Reduction work for Women. In 2013 Mati received an award of recognition by the German Government Development Agency SEZ for poverty reduction work in the “Millennium Village” Harguzirpar.
Mati is contributing for Bangladesh Government to Achieve the Sustainable Development Goals in many ways. It has the vision to organize these types of Volunteer Work Camp in future and contribute for the Climate Change through raising awareness.
[Photo Credits: Istiak Mahmud, Mridha Shihab Mahmud & Masud Rana]