The spirit of freedom has evolved far beyond what we sought in our War of Independence in 1971. Freedom in the modern world symbolizes more than just the liberty of choice or expression. Freedom defines our rights, equality in society and the creation of opportunities for everyone. In pursuit of this freedom and in remembrance of our glorious Independence Day, the Mastermind Community Service Club (MMCSC) organized an art competition for the underprivileged and autistic.
On the 24th of March 2008, the premises of Mastermind Senior Section was in a frenzy of activity with the colour of balloons, posters, and children. Art is symbiotic with the freedom of expression and as the brushes stroked colours of liberty, our theories were not proven wrong. The event commenced at 3:30 PM, with the lengthy registration of the participants. The participating organizations were Autism Welfare Foundation (AWF), Caring Glory, SEID, SWAC, Ekmatra, Afzalunnesa Foundation and Uttoron. Each of these institutions has played an incredible role in catering to the needs of those less fortunate than us, and we salute their selfless dedication.
The inauguration (with the huge flying balloons which you might have seen around Dhanmondi) by the chief guest, Mr. Syed Fakhruddin Ahmed (Principal of Mastermind School) and the participating children took place around 4:00 PM. Finally, at the end of the speeches, the art competition started around 4:30 PM. The children were divided into three groups: Group A – Autistic children (Ja Icche Tai Aki), Group B – Nursery to Class III (Amar Chokhe Bangladesh) and Group C – Class IV onwards (Shadhinota Andolon). The hour that followed was filled the mayhem of the young and eager painters. An extra dimension was imbued into to the atmosphere by the budding musicians of Group A and their solo performances. The scene of hysteria was completed by the overworked volunteers running around trying to find clipboards, erasers, paint and brushes.
After an hour of drawing, colouring and scrutinizing, the competition drew to a close. Chips, drinks and chocolates were distributed to the participants, their representatives and the teachers. The pieces of art were collected to be judged by Mr. Bikash Haldar, Ms. Nishat Jahan and Ms. Asilatul Afra (teachers from Mastermind) in the half an hour that followed. During this interval, Shandhani from Bangladesh Medical College and Hospital conducted free blood grouping for everyone interested. Against a backdrop of an art exhibition by Classes VI and VII of Mastermind School, face painting and clown performances were held. Balloons were burst, posters were torn and general chaos was rampant.
The event culminated to its apex with the much anticipated prize giving ceremony. Awards were given out by the chief guest amidst the loud cheers and applaud of the audience. Adil Haque (SWAC), Abeer (AWF) and Nabi Hossain (SWAC) won first, second and third prizes from Group A respectively. Josna, Poli and Sonya from Ekmatra were winners from Group B; while Abul Kalam Azad, Labiba and Azmain Ikthidar picked awards from Group C.
The event was ended by a speech from Project Leader Sabhanaz Rashid Diya that received a standing ovation (and many catcalls) from the crowd. Though the event was over around 6:00, volunteers could be seen on campus long after, busily clearing out.
MMCSC is indebted to Mr. Syed Fakhruddin Ahmed, Ms. Neera Habib (Director, Administration) and Ms. Nina Huq (Vice Principal and ECA-in-Charge) for their constant support and enthusiasm. Without their encouragement, this event would not have been possible. Amongst all its current projects, MMCSC Art Competition 2008 will be remembered as one of their biggest events, and hopes to inspire equality of opportunity in the generations to come.
By: Chowdhury Anato Osman