A group of students from the University of Liberal Arts Bangladesh are participating in a global competition called ‘Peer to Peer: Facebook Global Digital Challenge’, an event organized by EdVenture Partners, USA, in partnership with Facebook.
This year, 50 teams from 33 different countries are taking part in the competition and student teams are challenged to counter the pervasiveness of hate and extremism on social media in ways that are credible and authentic to their peers and communities. Each team requires a Facebook page where they post audio-visual contents that they create for the campaign.These posts are made visible to all so that everyone around the world can access it.The top 3 teams will win attractive prizes.
The team from ULAB is named ‘Team One’ and their campaign is titled ‘Disability Matters to Me’. The goal of their campaign is to promote awareness on the different types of disabilities and to reduce hatred and hate-speech both online and offline against people who have some form of disability.
Team One has done a lot of good work to spread their message. They have produced numerous informational articles and videos for their Facebook page (Disability Matters to Me) and website disabilitymatterstome.org and their posts have received a lot of positive attention from people. They have done a lot of off-line activities as well. They went on their university’s radio station for an hour-long program and held dialogues sessions at ULAB and at Queen’s School and College where they gave out wristbands and badges so the attendees can always carry the team’s message with them.All the information they have created and shared are well-researched and done so in consultation with Dr Nafeesur Rahman, a disability and development consultant with close to three decades of experience in this field in Bangladesh.
They recently also interviewed the Vice-Captain and members of the Bangladesh Wheelchair Cricket Team and shared the video on their Facebook page and website, so people could hear first-hand the challenges that people with disabilities faced.
They also succeeded in getting many students from their campus to become ambassadors. These ambassadors were given t-shirts as a sort of uniform they could wear as they support this good cause and educate others about equality, and take a firm stand against hate-speech against people with disabilities. The team comprises of members Md Al-Arifin, Anika Bushra, Hasibul Islam Shanto, Fareeha Nawsheen Khan and Shahabul Alam Sajib.
The team’s future plan is torun this campaign beyond the competition even if they do not win any prize because this campaign is very important. They want a country where everyone and everything is disability-friendly, and where all citizens understand the various disabilities that exist and do not discriminate against disabled people but treat them with respect and empathy.
According to them, all they want is to end the hate and bring love and kindness because only that can bring in peace and equality. They want everyone to say “Disability Matters to Me!”