Winter is a season of merriment to some, and terror to others. Most privileged people enjoy it due to the warmth of blankets, outdoor activities, and countless delicacies. On the other hand, it brings about a sense of helplessness in the form of long chilly nights and less than adequate clothing to those living below the poverty line. 'Portrait for Humanity' is an event organised to help exactly the latter kind of people. It is hosted by Genesis Foundation, to collect money for a humanitarian event, 'Sheet Hok Ushnotar' (Let winter offer warmth).
'Sheet Hok Ushnotar' is a yearly winter relief programme, with the aim to distribute warm clothes and other necessary products such as blankets, lotions, petroleum jelly, etc. to underprivileged people. Fund for the event is generally collected in two layers. A major portion of the funds come from the contribution of the members, volunteers, campus ambassadors and executive committee members of Genesis Foundation and their friends and families. The rest is collected through the contributions of donors who have built a relationship with this organisation in the last few years.
However, collecting the required amount of funds became a problem this year due to the poor financial condition of most people in the pandemic situation. Besides, it was not possible to conduct offline activities; so the team had to think of something that was doable online. This situation led them to the innovative idea of 'Portrait for Humanity.'
Concept of the event is to get people's vector portraits drawn for Tk 130 taka, from which Tk 100 would be used to help the underprivileged. Rafij Khan, co-founder at Genesis Foundation and supervisor of the event told The Financial Express, "Keeping in mind people's shaky financial condition, we wanted to give them incentive for small contributions. Since most people like to see and keep pictures of themselves, we got the idea of drawing portraits in exchange for a small amount of money."
The instructions for the event are pretty simple and straightforward. To get a vector portrait drawn, one simply has to send Tk 130 through bKash/Rocket/Nagad. They then need to fill up a Google form and upload a photo for reference. The portrait will be mailed to the person through email within only two days, and they will also be informed accordingly.
The idea became quite a success. Till November 30, around 90 people have had their portraits drawn, and many more are showing interest. The vector portraits are done by the skilled members of the branding and promotion team. They have raised almost Tk 12,000 so far.
The activities are being supervised by the founder of Genesis Foundation Shamsul Alam Rifat, and the Co-founder Rafij Khan. A committee has been made to carry out the activities of the event smoothly and take care of inconsistencies.
After enough funds get raised, Genesis Foundation will make necessary arrangements to carry out the 'Sheet Hok Ushnotar' programme. "This year, it will be a big event," said Rafij Khan, adding "Instead of concentrating on one area only, all nine branches of Genesis Foundation including Lalmonirhat, Shariatpur, Rajshahi, Barisal, Kushtia, Thakurgaon, Khulna, Bogura and Rangpur will work in their respective areas. On top of that, the central branch will go as far as the hilly tracts to help those in need there."
Genesis Foundation was funded in 2017 by Shamsul Alam Rifat, who is a university student now. Mission of this organisation is to ensure education, health, and environmental development of the underprivileged of society. Through humanitarian work and goodwill, the initiative has already turned from a small volunteering platform to a complete organisation with nine branches, around 500 members, 48 campus ambassadors and hundreds of volunteers. They hope to carry their journey on maintaining three core values-- volunteering, non-profitable and non-political.
The writer is studying BBA at IBA, University of Dhaka. She can be reached at [email protected]