On August 11, Jhilimili, a volunteer organisation, hosted 'Shoishob'- an art exhibition with works prepared by street children, in the EMK centre. This event was a manifestation of a project that started at the beginning of 2018. Street children were given crayons and paper, with the instruction to paint whatever they wanted. Upon seeing the astonishingly amazing artworks that the children came up with, Jhilimili decided to showcase it to a broad audience. Jhilimili is run by the students of the Institute of Business Administration, University of Dhaka. Initiated by some of the students of the BBA 20th batch of the institution, the primary aim of this initiative is to give the street children of our country a chance at education.
The regular activities of Jhilimili include taking weekly classes for the underprivileged children. The teaching method is unconventional and uses recreational activities such as drawing and music to teach the kids. Besides these weekly sessions, an annual iftar is organised, and some of the kids are given clothes during the festive season of Eid. All activities have benefitted the street children in some way or the other be it through giving them knowledge, food, clothes etc. However, an exhibition of this sort was a first for Jhilimili. The main aim of Jhilimili has been to deliver some form of education to the underprivileged children. This organisation strives to provide a colourful childhood for these deprived children, to whatever extent possible. This project was initiated with the intention of giving these children a chance to express themselves.
About the event Shoishob
Despite being so young, these street kids have to face the harsh world to ensure their survival. They rarely get a chance to enjoy a colourful and happy childhood like us. Hence, when they were given paper and crayons, and they were more than pleased to make a painting. The kids were also given the box of crayons with which they made their drawing. Teams of volunteers were dispatched in different areas to collect paintings from the children. Each team brought back a collection of astounding artworks, which deserved an audience. These children despite being deprived of necessities harbour an amazing amount of talent and creativity. Children from the ages of two all the way to twelve made unique paintings.
The idea of the displaying these was liked by the EMK centre, and thus became the venue for the exhibition. The ambience and display of content in the exhibition were breath taking. Besides artworks, there were pictures of the volunteers with the kids while they painted. A small note, written by the volunteer who observed its making, accompanied each of the paintings. The note gave a description of the child who made the artwork, and also the idea or concept behind the work. There were pictures of villages, war, kite flying, people and many other spectrums. A photo of the child was also put beside the child's work.
Volunteers and visitors about the event
The exhibition had quotes of the volunteers on display, where they described how they felt while working on this project, and with Jhilimili as a whole. For instance S M Hossain, a volunteer said, 'I joined Jhilimili to help the children. I did not come here for any personal benefit. Now I realise that I am actually getting more than what I am giving. These deprived children are amazing human beings who have to survive in this harsh world. I have learned a lot from them and hope to continue learning from them in the future.'
The exhibition was a daylong event, and the number of visitors in this exhibition was higher than one would expect. Visitors also expressed their content about the event. One visitor, Rahman Sazid said, "Visiting this exhibition makes me feel as if I were involved with this project. The way the paintings have been displayed with a written note of what the child wanted to express is amazing. Additionally, the pictures of the children painting are truly a remarkable sight. The pure happiness on the children's faces while they paint is something priceless. I wish they hold more exhibitions like this as the kids seem to enjoy them a lot."
The artworks were all displayed for sale to the visitors. The proceeds collected from these was given to the child who made the painting. Visitors were all pleased to buy the paintings that were up for display. The event also helped raise some funds that would help the deprived children. "Shoishob" is one of the many successes of Jhilimili. Jhilimili plans on continuing with its aim of providing education to the deprived children of our country and trying to give them precious childhood memories on the way.
The writer is a first year student of BBA programme at the Institute of Business Administration (IBA), University of Dhaka. He can be reached at
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