LEDP appears to be godsend in reducing unemployment creating freelancers

Publish: 4:36 PM, December 14, 2021 | Update: 4:36 PM, December 14, 2021

RAJSHAHI,  – Learning and Earning Development Project (LEDP) under the auspices of the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Division contributes to declining unemployment making youths self- employed through freelancing envisioned by Prime Minister’s ICT Affairs Adviser Sajeeb Wazed Joy.

According to the LEDP documents, so far 77,000 youths, including people with disabilities, have completed the ‘Professional Outsourcing Training’ on three courses – graphic design, digital marketing and web design and development – across the country in the first and second phases of the project since 2016. Of them, 32,234 youths are earning money through freelancing and their total income stood at around US$ 5 billion. As female account for half of the country’s total population, the LEDP has provided a two-day fundamental training on the ICT to 240,000 young women in the country.

Officials familiar with the project said the LEDP was launched under the ICT Division in line with the direction of Prime Minister’s ICT Affairs Adviser Sajeeb Wazed Joy to make the youths self employed through freelancing and develop them as entrepreneurs instead of relinquishing their chase after jobs. To achieve the target, the government distributed 13,000 laptops in the first phase and 4,000 laptops in second phase among the meritorious youths, including the differently abled persons. Under the second phase, 3,000 youths have been given Fulbright Scholarships on ‘Digital Skills’ and ‘Entrepreneur’ through COL-Coursera Workforce Recovery Program under the initiative of the Commonwealth of Learning, Canada and the Coursera.

The project has, however, set a target of growing up 100,000 freelancers from the total 600,000 as entrepreneurs through the ‘Freelancer to Entrepreneur’ programme, creating 100,000 more freelancers and earning US$ 1 billion remittance from the online marketplace. One Rubel Ali is among the efficient freelancers, who are contributing to local economy by making money thanks to the Learning and Earning Development Project.

Rubel Ali is no more a poor now, rather he has now emerged as a role model to freelancers as he is earning around Taka 3 lakh per month through freelancing. “It was very hard to continue my study since my poor father was unable to manage even daily food for us. My siblings – one brother and two sisters – had to stop their studies at primary level,” said Rubel, a youth of the country’s northwestern city.

He added: “Sometimes we had to quench hunger by chewing sugarcane. I had to work on others’ farms before and after school”. Though Rubel could not attend the classes regularly, his indomitable willingness helped him march forward overcoming the financial hurdles. He, however, discovered an “unbelievable” thing of earning money like boosting facebook page or youtube channels in 2012 when he was an eighth grader. “I started booting facebook pages and youtube channels with a mobile phone.

Though income from the work was very low in the beginning, I didn’t give up my hope,” said Rubel. Later, he bought a computer borrowing money and started earning about Taka 20,000 to 30,000 per month along with continuing his study and passed SSC in 2015 and HSC in 2017. Now a third year student of History Department of Rajshahi New Government Degree College, Rubel said, “I learned about the LEDP through facebook in 2020. Subsequently I completed three courses- graphic design, digital marketing and web design and development- under the project”.

After completing the course, he got an extensive way of earning remittance through freelancing and launched the website ‘SMMGYUZ.COM’ and he is now making over Taka 300,000 per month. Mosammat Alza, a master’s student, also completed a course on web designing and now her earning is about Taka 10,000 per month. Terming herself as a self-reliant woman, Alza said she is carrying out all her expenses by the money she earns from freelancing. State Minister for ICT Division Zunaid Ahmed Palak said around 6.5 lakh IT freelancers across the country are now earning money after taking training from the LEDP.

Initially, 30 percent of seats were reserved for women in the project, he said, adding, “But the willingness of the women and their success stories encouraged us to take up a dedicated project titled “Women ICT Frontier Initiative” to create 50,000 women entrepreneurs. The project will be sent to the Planning Commission soon.” Palak said Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina gave the digital remittance fighters a self identity by introducing freelancer ID cards.