The Story of a Bangladeshi Change Maker
Achievement Desk : He wanted to be a Banker once, but his passion led his career to the development sector. Sourav Saha is a role model for young professionals in the development field. Sourav works in JAAGO Foundation as the lead of the Youth Development Program. He runs one of the largest volunteer groups in Bangladesh called ‘Volunteer for Bangladesh’, the youth wing of the JAAGO Foundation. Sourav has been awarded the Community Solution Program Fellowship by the US Department of State. This prestigious fellowship program is organized by International Research & Exchanges Board, which brings together community leaders worldwide for an intensive four-month leadership development program. Sourav is among the 120 fellows selected to participate in the 2022-2023 Community Solutions Program from 97 countries. He is one of the two fellows representing Bangladesh in the United States of America. Niamat Ullah, another Bangladeshi, also joined the list of fellows in the 2022 cohort. Sourav is currently residing in Washington DC for the completion of his fellowship. He is currently doing his fellowship practicum under the thematic area of Transparency & Accountability in Project Over Zero; the organization is based in Washington DC and works in the field of Transparency & Accountability.
The journey started from one of the 13 heritage streets (Payri Das Road, Banglabazar) in the oldest part of Dhaka, where Sourav resides with his family for the last seven generations. Since his school days, he was fortunate enough to be able to engage in volunteers works in the community. Among all the volunteer works, the most remarkable contribution he has had is his volunteer journey with Urban Study Group where he coordinated a volunteer group in Puran Dhaka. He has worked for 6 years with the volunteer group to protect and restore the heritage of Dhaka. The young professional is also graduated from Bangladesh Youth Leadership Center (BYLC). So a young boy who was a volunteer is leading one of the largest volunteer groups in the country. It seems the passion has turned into a profession.
“I feel blessed and fortunate when I look back to the days when I dreamed of an opportunity to make myself capable enough with all the skills and confidence to serve my community and turn my passion into my profession. I never thought that I will be on the list of the first round of selection as I was sure that I am going to compete with the top young leaders across the world. But I always kept my belief to be able to chase my dream by putting in my hundred percent effort. I firmly believe that hard work pays off. I am humble enough to show my gratitude to International Research & Exchanges Board and the Community Solution Program team for believing in me and giving me this life-changing opportunity to walk with my passion for youth development and the hard work that keeps me focused on my goals.
“I can still remember the day when a small team from EducationUSA came to visit my workplace in Dhaka, where I was lucky enough to have a short interaction with them. And guess what? I got informed about the Community Solution Program Fellowship. It suddenly came to me like a precious gift as I could start planning to chase my dream, but the next couple of minutes came like a storm to me as I was having the interaction on October 27, 2021, which was the deadline for the application to this intense fellowship program. Even the representatives started wishing me good luck for next year’s application because I had only 15 hours left in my hand to complete the application, which was almost an impossible task to concentrate on the application for me as I was in my workplace. The next moment
I committed myself to not letting the possibility of chasing my dream go away. I submitted my application almost 30 minutes prior to the deadline, which boosted my confidence once again.