It all started when a group of teenagers in rural Bangladesh began to get fed up with all their spare time. Since the pandemic had shuttered their schools, life had become all play and no studies. Suddenly, their days were free and empty, but their futures felt uncertain. They had to watch with anxiety as their parents struggled to bring food home.
When the teenagers from the Compassion center had enough of play, they knew deep in their hearts that they could contribute to their family’s needs in some way. All the children were receiving their food supplies from the Compassion center which kept them from going hungry. The parents were happy and so were the neighbors who received rice from the teens’ initiative to donate a cup of rice to those who were struggling.
Inspired by their impact from donating rice, the group wanted to do more for their families. The teenagers would occasionally visit the Compassion center in a small group to speak with Bivash, the project manager, about how they could have a stable food supply at home.
“The children were concerned for their future food supplies, so they had to take action. The spark in them was fanned when they began receiving food supplies,” said Bivash.
Their solution was simple: plant their own crops.
However, they quickly had a problem. Their families only had enough land to plant their rice crop, which provided their livelihood. There wasn’t the space to plant extra vegetables.
Bivash helped the teens come up with a solution. Compassion’s partner provided the teens with a portion of the center’s land to use to plant potatoes. Once they had permission, the teenagers immediately got to work.
“The pandemic gave us enough time to realize that we have to make the best use of our time,” said 15-year-old Shuborna. By saving a portion of their potatoes from the food supplies the center provided, along with some additional vegetable seeds, they were able to plant their first vegetable crop.
“During the pandemic, planting potatoes was the proudest thing that I did with my free time,” said Poritosh.
The teenagers are already looking forward to their first harvest and know their first bite of the vegetables will taste even more delicious because they grew from their own hard work.
Earlier in the pandemic, Bangladesh’s Prime Minister said, “I urge all citizens to make use of every inch of spare land.” With Compassion’s support, these young people have lived up to the request and invested in their families’ future at the same time.