New club writes curriculum for children in Bangladesh

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Katharine Blackford, Assistant Activities Editor

In the middle of a circle of underclassmen, Laura Arockiasamy outlines the new EYDB club. They nod their heads, listening with sincere attention as she describes the club’s goal: writing educational programs to send to Bangladeshi children. On Arockiasamy’s iPad are pictures of children in Bangladesh, for whom the club will soon write curriculum to help provide free education. 

EYDB, Efforts in Youth Development in Bangladesh, works through chapters across the country to create a curriculum to educate children in Bangladesh, as well as building facilities where they can learn in Bangladesh. Jahin Rahman started EYDB in 2018 as a student-led group and has raised $20,000 as of 2020. 

The group met on September 24 for their first meeting and had a turnout of about 15 people. Club president Laura Arockiasamy led the presentation and discussion.

“I am very surprised and optimistic [by the turnout]. I’d like to see more seniors show interest in helping others [through EYDB],” Arockiasamy said.

Arockiasamy has a personal connection to EYDB’s mission of educating children in underprivileged communities through her parents’ story.

“My parents grew up in India, which is not Bangladesh, but India is still poverty-stricken in some areas. They basically grew up on the countryside with their parents. For example, my dad, his mom is a maid and his dad was a vendor on the street selling newspapers, so not a fruitful job at all. It took them a really long time and a lot of hard work to get my dad to come [to America] and study and have the life that he has,” Arockiasamy said.

Through EYDB, Arockiasamy sees an opportunity to help those with a similar background to her parents’.

“I think about if [my father’s] parents weren’t that determined, what would have happened? Which is what’s clearly happening in Bangladesh,” Arockiasamy said.

Arockiasamy believes in EYDB’s mission and values in part due to her personal cultural background.

“[EYDB] aligns with my values because it’s giving back to a community that I care about. My culture, I’m Indian-American, so I’m not fully American, not fully Indian, which allows me to see things with a different perspective because I get the American privilege, but at the same time, my family that still lives in India doesn’t get the same privilege, so I can see both sides of it. Being in the middle shows me the privileges we have and the things they don’t, which makes me want to bridge the gap,” Arockiasamy said.

During a summer internship with EYDB, Arockiasamy discovered the organization. In it, she realized there was a possibility to bring the club and its mission to Revere.

“[In the internship] we applied for grants so the organization could get funds, and we also made curriculum. [The internship] was my initial exposure, but then [I realized] Revere has nothing like this, because we always tend to help Akron and our immediate circle,” Arockiasamy said.

Arockiasamy believes that EYDB will shape Revere’s culture. 

“It will benefit Revere’s culture if people show up and take advantage of it. If we can get to a point where we’ve sent this many curriculums to Bangladesh, and we raise this much money, Revere could potentially use [EYDB] as ‘look at this club at Revere that’s giving back to the larger community,’” Arockiasamy said.

Arockiasamy believes EYDB is differentiating itself from other clubs at Revere.

“EYDB is clearly different [from other clubs] because you don’t know exactly who you’re helping on an individual scale,” Arockiasamy said.

Members of the club donate their time to write curriculum, something that Arockiasamy believes is at the heart of the club’s volunteer message.

“I think that shows a different type of persistence, and it’s the essence of volunteer work. You don’t really know the person who you’re helping, but you know that you’re helping. I feel like that’s unique to this club,” Arockiasamy said.

Arockiasamy hopes the club will grow with more people that connect with the humanitarian message of the club.

“I hope that more people join and find purpose in what we’re doing, and I hope that we make enough curriculums and raise enough money that it draws attention,” Arockiasamy said.

Before EYDB, Arockiasamy had previous interest in volunteer work. 

“I was super into UNICEF, and I really wanted to be an ambassador, but they don’t let people be ambassadors until they’re eighteen. If not EYDB, I will always contribute to [volunteering]. I’ll use the goal of wanting to help kids receive education in third world countries and find some other [way],” Arockiasamy said.

EYDB’s goal of helping educate children in Bangladesh starts with approaching issues with different perspectives.

“Some of the solutions that we have to solve are not the easy way out. With a big issue, you need a big initiative. That starts small, which is a different mindset for [EYDB],” Arockiasamy said.

Group adviser Bonnie Simonelli believes Arockiasamy is a good fit to lead the club.

“[Laura’s] tenacity, her kindness and her belief in what we’re doing [stand out]. She’s gung-ho in a quiet way,” Simonelli said.

Simonelli believes EYDB will impact Revere by creating a new connection between Revere and Bangladesh.

“My predictions for the future are that it’s going to connect [Revere] to a place that we’ve never had a connection to before [by linking] Revere kids to kids in Bangladesh,” Simonelli said.

Simonelli hopes EYDB’s goal will not just stay within Revere and spread to other school districts.

“When [EYDB] starts sending curriculum, I want media attention, maybe from news channels, to come and watch us and maybe spark other districts to try and do something like this,” Simonelli said.

Sophomore Maggie Zurn attended the first EYDB meeting.

“It’s not a lot of work for what I think will be a really good benefit,” Zurn said.

Zurn believes that EYDB will open up opportunities for students to make an impact in parts of the world they might have never interacted with before.

“I think this club will impact [Revere’s culture] really well. Revere’s clubs and focuses have been more local, and that’s great, but there are third-world countries that need attention as well. I think it could show Revere kids another world outside of the bubble that a lot of us live in,” Zurn said.

The first meeting of the EYDB club ended with promises to return and a hopeful energy from the larger than expected turnout for a completely new club. At the next meeting, they will begin writing curriculum.