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Bashir Uddin Gharami, calls for Prioritization of Children’s Needs and Rights in district Budgets

Md. Bashir Uddin Gharami, a Forty-Four (44) year old renowned local Medicine Trader in Piyarapur village-Chotto Bighai Unions under Patuakhali district commonly known as 'Daughter of the Sea' in South Central Bangladesh, volunteered to be part of the Right2Grow program after gaining interest in the program goal and objectives. His enthusiasm attracted members to vote him for General Secretary of the CSO platform. He has since then worked relentless to create change.

Baseline situation:

Initially, it never crossed Bashir’s mind that children had rights. He never thought that the general public had a right to participate in the different committees of the Upazila (UP) - Sub-district and speak or yet still demand for their rights. He was actually surprised that without political identity, someone could go to the UP for any service. A similar perception was found in most community members, one of the reasons why few people had access to the services of the UP.

Changes occurred:

Bashir actively participated in the open budget meetings of 2022-23 organized by UP. With his efforts, they have planned for proper expenditure of the allocated budget for children. In his own words, "I have been able to raise my voice in the presence of the UP Chairman to demand budget for my own community." With his continuous lobby through UP, Bashir is now part of the UP standing committee. He is an icon of reliability in his community. The community members believe in him and present their challenges to him. He is also a very active member of the CSO meetings. He regularly organizes CSG meetings to discuss different issues like WASH, Health and Nutrition for the community especially children and mothers of the under 5 years’ children. When asked what motivates him, Bashir unreservedly says, "I have a soft corner for the wellbeing of children, when I work for them, I visualize the face of my under 5-year-old daughter."

N:B: Patuakhali is the working area of Max Foundation, and Society Development Agency (SDA) is a local partner that provides support for socioeconomic and human rights development of the poor, landless, marginal farmers, under privileged groups, indigenous community including the disaster affected groups specially the women and children communities of south coastal area of Bangladesh.

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