Maynul is opening eyes to technology
From providing computer support to opening an eye-hospital, Maynul is showing his peers what can be achieved – and how.
Maynul Hasan (27), a young entrepreneur from Puthia, western Bangladesh, saw how his father struggled to get all the family through their education, and so he wanted to help. He now lives at home and has several enterprises underway.
The germ of an idea
While Maynul was at college, he thought he should earn some money like many of his fellow students. He was already involved with an Empower Youth for Work (EYW) program and, after completing their soft skills training, he knew what he wanted to do – set up his own business. Training in Entrepreneurship Development Skills was a step on the road, but Maynul’s sights were set on a business involving Information, Communication and Technology (ICT) and he didn’t have the knowledge or experience for that. This wasn’t going to put him off!
Maynul spent six months working as a volunteer in a computer shop. He learned MS office, how to develop a database, illustrator software, and graphic design. At the same time he worked as a facilitator for the soft skills training and, with his earnings, he bought a computer. He started working from home to save money, providing computer support to the community, especially women. He found that women felt more comfortable and avoided hassles by coming to his family home rather than going to the market, and his business thrived.
Working with and for the community
As a member of the local youth group, Union Apex Body and a Youth Reporters Group, Maynul had become involved with various social initiatives such as tree planting, road construction, arranging health campaigns, and networking with local government. He was well known and wanted to do something for the community. His idea was to open an Eye Hospital as there was no specialist provision in Puthia where people could get eye treatment easily. His older brother was an eye practitioner at a centre in Dhaka and could provide advice, but Maynul was a novice.
Undeterred by the complexity of the task (including training in eye treatment and finding equipment, space and, most importantly, capital) Maynul went ahead with his idea. He tried to get a loan but no financing organizations would touch the enterprise as Maynul had no experience or guarantor. His father was opposed to the plan, but his brother wanted to help him fulfil the dream. In the end, Maynul’s brother gave all his savings to establish the centre in Puthia and it opened its doors in March 2019. Maynul’s brother assesses and treats the patients, and Maynul looks after everything else. He earns 180 Euros (17,000 BDT) per month, and can now support his family.
That’s not all folks!
As if running an eye hospital isn’t enough, Maynul is continuing his education and is an active member of a youth group. He writes about different local issues in blogs, a news portal, and the local newspaper, and works for the EYW youth initiative. And he’s planning to open an ICT shop in Puthia market where he can reach more people.
Creating opportunities for others
Maynul says that he doesn’t want to waste time looking for a white collar job, he’d rather give jobs to other people. He wants more youths to become entrepreneurs because there is a huge shortage of jobs in the country. But to start any business people need financial support and a trade license. In Bangladesh, getting hold of these basics is complicated and takes time; many people, youths especially, lose interest in the process before they even start up in business. Maynul will bring his experiences to work with local government to make the process easier and available to all youth.
Maynul‘s story is part of the multiyear campaign, kicked off on International Youth Day 2019 by the Empower Youth for Work program and the Work in Progress! alliance. The campaign aims to support the national influencing work of the respective programs by joining forces with local role models. The ripples of #Iwasthere are spreading out around the world and these stories are proof that change can happen anywhere – we hope they will inspire you, too, to become an active citizen.
Why these stories?
There are more young people today than ever before in the history of the world; 1.8 billion people between the ages of 10 and 24 worldwide, and 90% of them live in low-income countries. . Harnessing the energy and strength of young women and men to become active citizens is core to Oxfam's goal of transformational change.
With their energy, skills and creativity, young people have the potential to be the driving force for social change, strong economies and vibrant democracies.
Oxfam is working jointly with youth to challenge barriers that prevent them from
Enjoying their rights
Participating fully in society
Being an effective voice in decision-making processes
How youthful dreams become reality.
These stories are proof that change can happen anywhere -
to inspire you to become an active citizen.
- The Netherlands
“Development is more than just economy or infrastructure, it’s all about humans.”
“As activists, we have to be patient. Without patience we can’t do anything, we just struggle.”
Jesse van Schaik
“I hope other people think ‘if she can do it, then I can do it, and then it won’t be that hard.’”
“Youths must work every day to be the change they want to see.”
“The only thing that I cannot do, is child bearing and breast feeding. This is not naturally gifted to men!”
“My goal was to capture the essence of the vital advocacy work that goes on within powerful institutions. But in a light and approachable way.”
“We are young, we are prepared. We have many things to do.”
“The biggest challenge wasn’t informing them about modern farming techniques but persuading them to abandon outdated methods”
“Work is never defined for men and women, it is us who creates this differentiation. There are lots of people in rural areas who are not getting enough medical support, I want to do something more for their advancement by engaging the youth of our community.”
“Fear is not part of my life. I conquer the fear itself.”
“I did not have any computer knowledge prior to this time; I only used computers for watching movies!”
“We should create an environment where people can support one another and raise local funds together to buy clothes and food for poor children and mothers.”
“Work ethics and character are equally important as you cannot earn a living out of talent alone.”
“I believe young women have the capacity to change their lives if they are provided with a safe environment and support from their family, community, and government.”
“Once we overcame our initial hurdles, we felt confident about managing more events, and soon established a good reputation in the city.”
“Even if a person supports you and teaches you how to do a thing, without passion on your part, it’s a ‘NO’!”
“Without a book on my lap every day, I don’t know where I would have reached today. One day I will realize my dream of bringing all Sahil people into the library.”
Habiba believes that other women and girls will be inspired by seeing her at work.
“Seeing my success, many people are now convinced it’s OK to assist women.”
“We aim, one day, to scale up our start-up to a national level”
He started working from home to save money, providing computer support to the community, especially women.
“The beauty parlour industry is exploitative, and because women workers lack awareness about their rights, they pose little to no resistance to unfair work policies.”
“Poetry is art and expression, and has been in my blood since my childhood. If you want people to develop their country, young people are the starting point – they have the drive and stamina to pioneer changes”
To ensure the continued success of her business, she keeps up with the latest fashion trends online, adjusting them for the cultural and religious tastes of her clients.