Monday, January 16, 2012

Born in Blood? Pt. 2

   The situation in Bangladesh and the title that the Scholastica students identified with was still fresh in my mind when our group met Dana, the co-founder of WorldSavvy. WorldSavvy, we learned, was actually started by her first Bangladeshi acquaintance, Mediha (now the headmaster at Scholastica in Dhaka) and Dana while they were still in college together. Their founding idea was to empower youth, therefore creating "Global Citizens", who thought deeply and cared about world affairs.
    As I was curious on the subject of why they thought to start such an organization, I asked Dana later on why WorldSavvy was founded the way it was, when it was, how it was. I learned that Mediha was an exchange student from Bangladesh when the US was affected by the tragedy on 9/11.  She and Dana experienced a lot of xenophobia and hostility as they sought to learn about other countries. WorldSavvy, as the name stipulates, is purely focused on educating students about their world, enabling them to go places they might otherwise never see/learn about. In a way, I guess you could say that out of the bloodshed on 9/11, came the birth of a non-profit that changed my life.
   Those who know me the closest can say that this program provided me an education that my background/situation would not have otherwise provided. My school does focus on global affairs much more than the lot, I guess you could say, but my life has been tainted with the fear and xenophobia that sprouted from 9/11, just as any American student can agree.  It was a struggle to move past it, and open my entire self to the idea of exchanging with a place so different, so far away.

    I believe wholeheartedly that it isn't just Bangladeshi students or open-minded Americans who show resilience in the face of fear and impending death by water.  When issues face us as a culture, we find ways to work around that fear, and come out with solutions. Beautiful solutions. Brilliant ones. But these solutions can only come with an open mind, and an ability to lean into discomfort. My Grade 8 and 9 social studies teachers emphasized the idea of "Speaking Your Truth, Staying Engaged, Experiencing Discomfort, and Expecting/Accepting Non-Closure". These are all agreements, attributes, actions, that are completely necessary to have before we can ever move forward.
   What else can be Born of Blood?  A beautiful country. Limitless solutions to global issues. Global Citizens. Let us speak our truth, stay engaged, experience discomfort, and maybe we will someday find closure.

 ~Photos courtesy of the lovely Sumaita Ahmed.

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