Utsho Bangladesh – school for underpriviliged children
“When we were working in Bangladesh, we met Mahbooba Mahmood Leena. She is an educated woman, part of the elite of Bangladesh. She was telling the story of how she came to run an orphanage, school and working place for 150 children. “I was 30, and working for a local NGO, trying to help the prostitutes in brothels to a better and safer life, against the ideas of my family and friends. Going to this brothels I saw that the children of these women never came outside. They had to stay inside, with their mother. This hurt me so much that I turned my life that way: to help this children to have a chance of a life. That changed my life, and made Utsho happen.” Now, over twenty years later, we can see the ongoing result of her efforts in the Utsho orphanage, schools and work places. What touched us is the way she described the process of improving the life of these children and women. She was in no way asking to give money, or to take over the help. She said: “In Bangladesh, we are able to help our own society, to improve the life of these children. We should stop to pretend we are all helpless, because there are many educated, wealthy people in our society that are able to set up these initiatives, changing society for the better. The main obstacle in our progress is the image of Bangladesh as a helpless, poor country that is spread in the press and supported by NGO’s that get their funding through that image. We can never achieve a self-sustaining society with strong children and people if we do not get rid of this image of Bangladesh in the world and our own eyes.”
Since we are artists and anthropologists, working for years with social issues in many countries, and are now in Bangladesh to work with groups that remain unseen by the world, the question what we can do to help Leena with their quest was easily answered. Our main goal to portray the people and stories that are untold, so people will start seeing this reality and act differently. In Bangladesh, we will make a full documentary of the work of Utsho, the lives of the women and children that are part of this big family and the importance of understanding how this society works, before we start ‘helping’ it. We can show that contributing to a healthy society that solves its own problems is the only way we can contribute instead of ‘helping’ sustain the dependencies created by financial support through governments and Ngo. After producing it together with Utsho, we will also make this documentary known and available worldwide, through media, schools, universities, ngo networks and governments and our own network and platforms. To change the lives of these children, to change the image of their society, to enable them to create their own lives.”
To empower the children in Bangladesh.
Making a documentary in Dhaka of the children, the Utsho orphanage and school, and interview the driving forces behind this movement. After finishing: make it known worldwide.
To make these children visible to the world, and empower them to create their own future.
In two weeks time, we will be shooting footage for the documentary. We spend five days and nights in the different locations of Utsho: orphanage, two schools, and a workplace for victimized women. We interview the founders and employees about their experiences and needs. We cover the background of the problems in Bangladesh that cause the lives of these children being as they are. We show individual children and women, hear their stories and give them a human face.
The most important part of this project is that the story of these children and this country is spread around the world. For that we will use these networks and media:
- International important media (over 1000 contacts available)
- All Bangladesh related organizations / ngo worldwide
- NGO network
- Embassy network
- Universities worldwide
- Create lecture with documentary and give it in social and scientific places
- Documentary networks, festivals et cetera
- Featuring documentary on all social platforms we host or are part of
- Spread in Bangladesh society, politics, elite, art and scientific world
- Own network of socially moved people around the world, including this crowdfunding campaign.
- Utsho network worldwide and in Bangladesh.
Co creation & change
We put all our professionalism and experience in this project to make it a success that will empower the children in Bangladesh, and make the contributions the world does to this country more helpful ones. This means nothing if Bangladesh society as a whole, and the Utsho organization especially is not the main actor in this process. As the founder of Utsho said: “We are capable of creating a better society for these children, it is our movement, and our fight.” That means that they will do the main part of the work, and that this documentary and the international attention we can create is a helping factor in a process that will take more time than we have to spend in Bangladesh.
Who are we?
Martijn van Oorschot
Doctor in anthropology, artist, photographer, autor, Dutch, Brazilian, The Faketory art studio, father of Merel, Rutger, Donna, Storm and Sét.
Anthropology phd, pr director The Faketory, Doing Dreams, Dutch, Brazilian, mother of Sét.
We are doing this project because we know this is a change to help them forward. We are investing our own time, money and energy in creating a documentary and making it known in the world. Previous projects we did are:
To enable these projects we have a consultancy agency in social issues, and we work and travel around the world.
Utsho encourages people from all walks of life to volunteer in various activities within the organization. With this vision in mind Utsho has created a volunteer group called ‘Prottasha Volunteers Association’. As part of the first phase of Utsho’s Prottasha project, it is an attempt to establish a dedicated Youth Volunteer Group and raise awareness of the problem and struggle faced by the underprivileged children in Bangladesh. Utsho held a number of seminars with South Breeze School, Aga Khan School, Scholastica, Sunbeams, Eden Girls College and Department of Public Administration and University of Dhaka. Utsho also gains tremendous support from volunteers from overseas, such as Australia, Denmark etc. Utsho appreciates the noble support from the volunteers and seek more assistance and participation from well-wishers, professionals, teachers, students, housewives, neighbors and friends on the programs of Human Rights Advocacy, Income Generative Project, Fundraising, Cultural Awareness Programs and Teaching.