Dhaka, May 12 (UNB) – What one responsibility on earth requires 24/7 call of duty? No holiday, no weekend, no payment whatsoever. That’s the duty of a mother, which she discharges instinctively all the time going beyond call of duty.
When one asks “what does your mother do?” the best reply probably comes – “tell me what’s there that mom doesn’t do?”
After being separated from her husband, Anowara Chowdhury brought up her two wards – a son and a daughter – all alone. Though she had hard time running the family with her meagre earning, never did she compromise her children’s education.
Overcoming many hurdles, Anowara managed getting her daughter Afrin Parvez enrolled to Khulna University of Engineering and Technology. Afrin obtained a higher degree in mechanical engineering. Her mother married her off two years later but Afrin’s marriage somehow didn’t work out.
As Afrin wanted to get her out of that wedlock, she found the whole world around her hostile. It was only Anowara, her mother, who stood by her. When everyone else advised her to compromise, Afrin’s mother said ‘yes’ to her daughter’s divorce decision.
It’s a story of an ordinary woman who spoke about her extra ordinary mother on the eve of the Mother’s Day. The Day that falls on May 13 is a celebration honoring the mother of the family, as well as motherhood, maternal bonds, and the influence of mothers in society.
Now, after getting out of that marriage, Afrin completed her MBA from Dhaka University, working in a top-rank private bank. She is also giving counseling to other girls. Moreover, she is also working as a tattoo artist.
“Tattoo artist is still a ‘debatable job’ in the country. But when I told my mother that I wanted to learn the work, my mom just asked me to know how it works”, Afrin told UNB.
“She never put an obstacle in my taking decisions, and only because of her support, I have become what I am right now,” She added.
If a mother treats both her son and daughter equally, it becomes easier for a daughter to grow up with a strong personality, said Ferdousi Sultana Begum, a social development and gender specialist.
“A mother should not only teach her daughter to be expert in household chores but also should build her capable enough to live in the society with her head up”, she added.
Proper schooling and training from mother is very important in this regard, said Ferdousi stressing on the importance of mothers’ role in growing their daughters up as independent human being.
Zilfika Jui, a student, told UNB that mothers can stand beside their daughters the best and to do so, they have to make themselves friendly, courageous and self-dependent first.
While talking to UNB, Khushi Kabir, a female activist, said, mother plays the key role in her children’s lives as she is the closest parent to them.
“As a mother takes care of everything of her children, if she guides her daughter as a strong person, to fight against all the odds in the society, the daughter will also become a person with confidence and strong mentality”, she said.
According to Khushi Kabir, a successful and strong mother creates a best example for a daughter if she ensures to give quality time and proper guideline to her children.
There are many women who don’t work outside, yet fails to build up deep relationship with their children while there are also many women who spend time with their children and motivate them even after working outside, she added.
“There is a thin line between controlling and guiding, a mother should know the difference and should not try to control their daughters rather than giving guidance”, Khushi Kabir told UNB.
Dhaka, Jul 19 (UNB) - The National Tree Fair and the National Environment Fair attracted a good number of visitors and plant lovers on Thursday, the second day of the fairs.
Department of Forest (DoF) and Department of Environment (DoE) organised the fairs at Sher-e-Bangla Nagar, marking the World Environment Day.
The DoE arranged the environment fair with 62 stalls where different organisations and institutions are showcasing their innovative and environment-friendly products and projects.
Different government organisations, including Bangladesh Forest Industries Development Corporation (BFIDC), Department of Livestock Services (DLS), Bangladesh Jute Mills Corporation (BJMC), many private organisations and universities also took part in the fairs.
Most of the products and projects were about plastic recycling and reusing, urban gardening and water resource management.
Patrick B Gomez, a visitor of the fair, told UNB that such initiatives are very significant to create awareness among people, especially the grassroots people for sustainable development. “If awareness is built from the grassroots level, the initiatives will be more effective,” he added.
The National Tree Fair has been organised by the Department of Forest where 75 organisations are showcasing their plants and products in 101 stalls.
Among the plants, trees of orchids, Bansai, avocado, dragon fruits, apricot and trees of different spices and herbs as well as flowers drew more attraction of the visitors.
Md Selim, a staff from Barisal Nursery, said each year the fair gets a great response from visitors.
On the weekends, the crowd will be heavier, he hoped.
Shafiqul Islam, a visitor and also a nursery owner from Bhaluka, stressed the need for increasing the duration of the fair.
“If the fair is arranged for two months, especially in June and July, it will be easier for the visitors to buy plants from here and cultivate those in the rainy season,” he told UNB.
The fair also created much interest among school children.
Tahin Mahmud, a student of class IV, came to visit the fair along with his brother and mother. “It’s a good opportunity to see so many trees and plants in one place. Such fair helps up gain more knowledge about plants,” he said.
Visitors were also found buying small plants which they can use to decorate their urban life.
The theme of this year campaign is: ‘Live in Green, Protect the Green and Decorate the City-life-Environment’.
The week-long Environment Fair will continue until July 24 while the Tree Fair is a month-long one.
The fairs are open from 9am till 9pm.
Dhaka, Apr 12 (UNB) - Amid the concrete life of Dhaka city, handicraft shops in Doyel Chattar area in front of Dhaka University’s Curzon Hall are all set to offer their customers with colorful traditional craft products to celebrate Pahela Baishakh in a colorful manner.
While there are only about a week left for the first day of Bangla New Year, sellers of these shops are passing their busy time fulfilling the demand of their products.
Md Monir Hossain, who has been in the business there for the last 20 years, told UNB that the market is drawing crowds with the each passing day before the festival.
Claiming that their business has so far not been up to the mark on this occasion, he said, the sale will rise in the coming 3-4 days.
Asked about the price, he said, dugdugi costs from Tk 50 to Tk 120, ektara Tk 60 to Tk 500, kula Tk 50 to Tk 250, flutes Tk 10 to Tk 100, pots Tk 50 to Tk 300, baskets Tk 30 to Tk 150, hand fans Tk 20 to Tk 80 and clay-made jewelries Tk 50 to Tk 200 each.
Mentioning that various companies also come to them to place orders, said Monir adding, “We usually take preparations to complete the orders at least 15 days ago. The orders vary from 1000 to 10,000 pieces.”
He said individuals also come and buy products to decorate their houses traditionally on this special day.
Another seller, Sohel, said there are good demand for potteries and handmade products on this occasion. Many people wish to celebrate the festival traditionally and buy pottery items like plates, teacups, bowls, water vessels, hand fans etc.
Maria Akter, a home maker, told UNB that she has come here to buy some home utensil products with his little son.
Pahela Baishakh is all about color, tradition and festivity. Decorating home with crafts and pottery items adds a dimension to the occasion, she told UNB.
Mehedi Hossain, who was found busy coloring bamboo-made items, said, every year this business sees a rise ahead of the festival, especially one week before. “The place gets abuzz with customers.”
However, this year the supply of raw materials is coming down day by day, he said adding that the suppliers from those the sellers get the raw materials of the craft products are unable to fulfill their demand.
Not only decorative and utensil products, the demand of traditional snacks is also noticeable ahead of the festival.
Mamun, who was busy selling sweet snacks alongside the road, said people also place orders for items like batasha, kotkoti, murali, kodma etc, especially for Pahela Baishakh.
These items cost from Tk 150-300 per kilogram varying from item to item, he added.
Dhaka, Aug 12 (UNB) – Malaysia finds Bangladesh as a great market for its investors with huge opportunities, which the investors need to be made aware of, says a Malaysian diplomat.
“Awareness needs to be created among the Malaysian investors about the challenges and opportunities for them in Bangladesh to strengthen the trade relations between Bangladesh and Malaysia,” said Muzzafar Shah Hanafi, Malaysian Consul (Trade) at Consulate General in Chennai, India.
Muzzafar, whose mandate as a Malaysian trade envoy also requires him to look after trade issues in Bangladesh, gave an exclusive interview to UNB during his recent visit to Dhaka.
Bangladesh, he said, can also use Malaysia as a gateway to other Southeast Asian countries like Singapore, Thailand and Indonesia.
The geographic location of Bangladesh also makes it significant for Malaysia as the country can be entry point for Malaysia to many other countries including Pakistan, Nepal and northern part of India which will help Malaysia with reduced shipping cost and time, he added.
Muzzafar Shah Hanafi suggested organizing seminars and business meetings frequently between the two countries that will help create better understanding about Bangladesh’s trade and investment opportunities.
He noted that people in Bangladesh are willing to pay higher prices for high quality products. He came up with the observation considering the steady economic growth of Bangladesh having huge population with higher purchasing capacity.
According to Muzzafar, the trade relations can be boosted with the implementation of the proposed free trade agreement (FTA) as consumers can enjoy Malaysian products at fair price with its enforcement.
Malaysia is waiting for the response from Bangladesh to hold the first official meeting on the proposed FTA, which might be arranged after the national election this year, hopes Muzzaffar adding that putting FTA in place will create win-win situation and prosperous trade relationship between the two countries being beneficial for both sides.
Pointing out high tax rate as one of the main obstacles that hinder Malaysian investors to explore the Bangladeshi market, Muzzafar said there are other scopes for Malaysians to consider the country as a huge export destination as countries like Japan and China are also exporting here despite of high tax.
He said Malaysian products such as foods, cosmetics, toiletries, luxury items and some other items have high demand in Bangladesh, but there are not much Malaysian products in the Bangladeshi Market currently.
Among the food products, fast-moving consumer goods such as biscuits, noodles, chips and snacks of Malaysia are of high quality, Muzzafar said.
Though Malaysian investors know about the opportunities of the market, he said, they do not have proper knowledge on how to enter into the market and invest here.
A platform to promote the opportunities of Bangladesh needs to be floated so that they know there are much more positive things in Bangladesh besides the high tax such as the purchasing power of the population, the high GDP growth and the facilities of economic zones, he suggested.
Muzzafar also considered halal market sector as a great opportunity to invest in Bangladesh.
Not only halal food, there are other halal products such as cosmetics, luxury products etc. as well as Islamic fashion such as hijab are the scopes for Malaysia to find market in Bangladesh.
Malaysia considers Bangladeshi textiles as of high quality, he said adding that, as the manufacturing cost of RMG products in Malaysia is very high, Malaysian manufacturers can utilize the facilities of the economic zones of Bangladesh and export their manufactured products back to Malaysia.
Mentioning that Malaysian women are being empowered through their involvements in business, having women owned companies and exporters, the trade consulate said, women entrepreneurs from both the countries also have good opportunities of business and partnership.
When asked about the opportunities Bangladeshi investors have in Malaysia to do business, Muzaffar said Malaysia is an open market with one of the best investment packages to offer the investors where anyone is free to invest and it also allows majority of foreign staffs in the industries.
As the entrepreneurs and Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) of Bangladesh are emerging massively, stronger trade relationship between the two countries can also create platform for Bangladeshi businessmen to go global with diversified business opportunities, he added.
Muzzafar said Bangladesh-Malaysia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BMCCI) is working to promote opportunities both for Bangladeshi and Malaysian investors through various initiatives.
Dhaka, July 15 (UNB) – Absorbing all the unemployed youth to workforce is a daunting task for Bangladesh. It is nothing unique to this country though. This challenge is global.
As nations all over the globe observes the World Youth Skills Day on July 15, what Bangladesh probably needs to do is imbue skills into young working-age people turning them thereby market-ready for overseas jobs.
United Nations recognises rising youth unemployment as one of the most significant problems of developed and developing countries. According to UN estimates, 475 million new jobs need to be created over the next decade to absorb the 73 million youth currently unemployed and the 40 million new annual entrants to the labour market worldwide.
Meanwhile, Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS) in its ‘Bangladesh Labour Force Survey 2016-17’ shows that the overall estimated unemployment rate (defined as the unemployed as a percentage of the labour force) was 4.2 per cent in the country. It is 4.9 percent for urban and 4.0 percent for rural areas.
The highest unemployment rate was found among youths, those aged 15-24 which is 12.3 per cent, followed by those aged 25-34 years, which is 5.7 per cent.
There are an estimated 2.68 million unemployed persons who are aged 15 or older. Of them 1.36 million are aged between 15 to 24 years old, which is 50.8 percent of the working age population while 1.32 million are aged above 25 years, which is 49.2 percent of it, said the report.
The report also revealed that unemployment rate has been the highest among the literate persons (5.3 per cent) than that of illiterate persons (1.7 per cent).
According to the report, the unemployment rate signals to some extent the underutilization of the labour supply. It reflects the inability of an economy to generate employment for people who want to work but are not doing so, even though they are available for employment and actively seeking work.
While the youth unemployment rate is a big challenge for the country, experts believe that overseas employment from Bangladesh can be a solution for this.
To create skilled manpower for overseas employment, Bureau of Manpower, Employment and Training (BMET) is providing skill development training. BMET has 70 training centers countrywide so far, said, Md Nurul Islam, Director (Training Operation) of BMET.
In 2017, BMET trained 839,727 people under various categories, he added.
With a growing youth population of almost 60 percent and tight job market, migration can be a solution to prevailing unemployment of the country, states BMET annual report.
In 2017, more than 10 lakh workers went for overseas jobs, a 33 percent surge over the number of 2016, says the report.
In 2015, Bangladesh was ranked 9th among top remittance recipients, fetching nearly US$ 15.4 billion, which is around 11 percent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP). In 2017, total remittance received by Bangladesh was US$ 13.58 billion, states the report.
Professor Mohammad Mainul Islam, Chairperson of Department of Population Sciences in Dhaka University told UNB, “The global scenario is changing. In the competitive global market, demand of skilled labour is growing while Bangladesh is exporting manpower mostly in low or semi-skilled jobs. If we could export high skilled labour force, then the country could have earned more remittance.”
Dr Mainul Islam said, countries like India, Sri Lanka and the Philippines have entered in the global market with their manpower. Bangladesh also needs to build skilled manpower keeping the competition in mind.
Also, if skilled manpower could be developed, there would have been no need to hire skilled people from other countries like India in Bangladesh, he added.
Bangladesh currently has the opportunity of utilizing its working age population. At present, a large share of the country’s population is working age people while the dependency rate is still quite low, added the professor.
“But Bangladesh will not enjoy the opportunity (demographic dividend) too long. We have around 20 to 22 years of time in our hand to utilize the working force”, claimed the demographer.
“After 2040, the dependency rate (aged people) may start increasing. So we must find ways to use the working age population and create skilled labour force within the time we have”, he added.
The professor stressed on vocational education to create skilled manpower as well as identify new markets globally to utilize the labour force.
He also stressed on the need of changing the existing market structure and education structure to create applied-knowledge oriented curriculum and job and draw more investment in the market to create more job opportunities.
Prof Mainul suggested that a balanced combination of practical and theoretical education is needed, while more cooperation between the ministries working for this sector should be ensured with more developed youth policy to reduce the youth unemployment rate.
United Nations also addressed education and training as the key determinants of success in the labor market.
According to UN, existing systems are failing to address the learning needs of many young people, and surveys of learning outcomes and skills show that a large number of youth have low levels of achievement in basic literacy and numeracy.
To raise awareness on the importance of investing in youth skills development, the United Nations General Assembly decided to designate July 15 as World Youth Skills Day.