BRAC Hope Festival kicked off on Thursday (February 9) with colors, passion and enthusiasm at the Bangladesh Army Stadium in the capital. The three-day festival is the epilogue to yearlong observances, marking 50 years of BRAC, one of the largest development organizations in the world. First day of Hope Festival embodied the theme “A Tribute to Bangladesh”.
First day of festival ignites hope among youths and general people with workshops, cultural programs, said a press release.
The festival opened at 11 am, welcoming thousands of participants showcasing BRAC's ecosystem of development, social enterprises, investments, university, and other initiatives in Bangladesh and abroad. The festival grounds were adorned with exhibitions, pavilions, stalls, and workshops with diverse cultural motifs depicting BRAC's ecosystem. All the spaces and setups were open to the audience with a special kids play zone for children.
The first day of the festival was inaugurated with the national anthem. One-minute silence was observed on the venue grounds commemorating the deceased, survivors and those who endured damages in the earthquake in Turkey and Syria. An announcement was also made for those who want to contribute to the recovery of the survivors by communicating with the office of the Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency at Baridhara.
A documentary on the life, work and philosophy of Sir Fazle Hasan Abed, founder of BRAC profoundly touched the hearts of the audience.
Asif Saleh, executive director, BRAC, welcomed the audience at the festival, while addressing the young generation in his inauguration speech said, “every individual has immense potential. No amount of setback can prevent them from utilizing potential if they have the confidence and are equipped with the appropriate tools. They emerge triumphant from the worst situation. The greatest achievement of BRAC in the last 50 years is that it was able to ignite that light of hope. All that BRAC does embody the essence of rekindling hope, of increasing confidence and making people aware of their inherent potential.”
Cultural festivities on the stage began with an exclusive puthi path performance by renowned actor Fazlur Rahman Babu and his group. The history of liberation war and the life story of the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman were narrated. Bengal Parampara Sangeetalay performed the Raga classical music. Later on, a documentary paid tribute to the role of women in the War of Liberation in 1971.
Throughout the festival, different presentations and performances celebrated the tenacity and courage of women to overcome adversity and emerge triumphant in life. Theatre group Prachyanat staged a creative rendition titled “Protidiner Joddha”, based on the life of Dr. Afsana Akter, who overcame all her family and social hurdles to become a successful gynaecologist. Dr. Afsana was also present on the stage, sharing her story with the audience. Events of the day concluded with performances by Arnob and Friends and Lalon Band.
The venue grounds were filled up with the audience in a festive mood. Visiting different pavilions and stalls and participating in workshops and session. Audience of all age groups participated in the festival. They visited different activity sites and participated in the workshops through pre-registration.
Three workshops were held, namely, ArchKids, Draw a Friend, and Jewelry Making. The department of architecture at BRAC University organized a fun architecture workshop for children, artist Masuda Khan (Masu Ake) conducted “Draw a Friend” workshop with children, and Aarong Craft Corner organized a jewellery making session styled “Jewels of Bengal” with traditional colors and motifs of Bengal. The Play Lab model, an innovative solution by BRAC Institute of Educational Development (BIED) for early childhood development, human library, puppet shop and many other exhibitions attracted the audience.
“Power of Potential” will be the theme of second day (Friday, February 10) of Hope Festival. Tamara Hasan Abed, managing director, BRAC Enterprises, will address the audience. Special performances will be staged to highlight “Shomotontro”, a movement for gender equality. Dance drama by Jatrik group and fashion show by Aarong will also be part of the stage programs. Musical performances and concert by renowned bands Renaissance, Feedback, Emon Chowdhury and Friends, Miftah Zaman and Girl Power Band will be part of the stage programs on the second day.
Hope Festival is a celebration of BRAC’s 50 years of journey to ignite hope across the world, and celebration of the tenacity and courage of the people of Bangladesh. The centre of this festival is our people. BRAC hopes the stories from millions of people triumphing over adversity will inspire all to realize their potential in overcoming all difficulties
Bkash, BRAC Bank, IPDC Finance, and BRAC University are the proud partners of BRAC Hope Festival, the release added.