‘We are young. We have the power to change our community.’

EducationLivelihoodsPoor CommunitiesYoung People

A young man in Bangladesh is raising up tomorrow’s leaders on a diet of homegrown food and business skills.

Working in the fields in the Gazipur District of Bangladesh. Photo: Unsplash
Working in the fields in the Gazipur District of Bangladesh. Photo: Unsplash

Godol grew up in a poor community in Bangladesh where he saw a lot of suffering. Inspired to do something to help his village flourish, he started a community garden project and began to train up young leaders.  

Godol, 26, describes growing up in a small village as both a joyful and sad time. Although his parents weren’t highly educated, they encouraged and inspired him in spite of the many problems the area faced. These included gambling, alcoholism and extreme poverty. 

He had always dreamt of working with people from different cultures and communities, and Tearfund’s volunteering programme provided the perfect opportunity. Volunteers from the UK and Bangladesh worked together on leadership training and social action projects. 

Over the course of ten weeks, not only did Godol learn how to communicate across different cultures, but he gained new skills in leadership, gardening, social business, computing, project planning, advocacy and even litter awareness. These new experiences gave him more confidence, which equipped him to go back to his community and do what he could to help tackle some of the long-lasting social problems. 

Seeing the utter devastation that poverty brought to his village, Godol knew he had to tackle the issue face on. He was particularly concerned about the lack of a balanced, nutritious diet. After consulting with other people living locally, he decided to begin a community gardening project. He chose 15 young participants to be involved because he wanted to teach them about leadership and running a social business as well as how to grow different types of crops.

Led by Godol, the group planted lots of different types of crops including beans, onions and potatoes.
Led by Godol, the group planted lots of different types of crops including beans, onions and potatoes.

‘There is a crisis of good leaders in my community. I want to develop these skills in young people so that they become the great leaders of the future.’

Godol says: ‘I wanted to help these young people become good gardeners, good business people and good leaders.’ 

They collected some money together from within the group, and then planted lots of different types of crops, including beans, onions and potatoes. Godol explains that the project was particularly effective because it helped address people’s nutritional needs and would hopefully help to ease their financial concerns in time. His hope is that the village will become more resilient and self-sufficient in the future, which will cause a massive reduction in many of the other difficulties they have. 

Godol is passionate about leadership and creating greater unity in his community; he wants to use his skills to raise up more young people. 

This passionate and determined man isn’t going to stop doing what he can to inspire and equip others, to ensure that everyone in his village can flourish: ‘We are young. We have the power to change our community.’

Lucy Pieterse
Lucy Pieterse is the Communications Manager for Global Volunteering at Tearfund. Email: lucy.pieterse@tearfund.org