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Dipshikha: Promoting Community Development

Initiated in 1978 by a group of social workers, schoolteachers and students in the village of Rudrapur, the rural development organization Dipshikha defines itself as a "non-formal education, training and research society for village development". Taking the name from the two Bengali words Dip and Shikha, meaning 'lamp' and 'flame', Dipshikha continues to bring much needed light to people who are willing to help themselves with social, cultural and economic development. Among their many projects Dipshikha is committed to providing education to open up the doors of literacy for those who have lacked opportunities for learning, thereby offering endless opportunities to gain knowledge and improve their socio-economic circumstances. With the viewpoint that where there is a sense of brotherhood, there will be peace and justice, Dipshikha promotes respect, kindness and cooperation in the communities the organization is involved with.

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Features

Abul Khair Litu – Patron of Bangladeshi Culture

Well known for his support of Bangladeshi culture, music, art, theater and literature, Abul Khair Litu is chairperson and founder of the Bengal Foundation, established in 1986. The foundation encompasses a range of visual and performing arts, with the focus on music and painting. Monthly concerts, festivals and workshops encourage the citizens of Bangladesh to embrace the arts, and scholarships and grants are awarded to promising students for advanced training in art and music. The foundation has also published more than a hundred albums of Bengali music and produces an English-language quarterly arts publication called Jamini, as well as the literary magazine Kali O Kalam. Other publications founded by Abul Khair include a cultural events bulletin Bengal Barota and a Bengali arts quarterly called Shilpa O Shilpi.

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Features

Brief History of Aviation in Bangladesh

Considered to be the very earliest type of aviation, kite flying has long been a form of entertainment for the people of Bangladesh. Initially a pastime of the elite dating back to the Mughal period, it became a tradition among all Bangladeshis, particularly from the mid-18th century, and kite painting was a recognized form of art. Today, kite flying festivals remain a highlight on the social calendar of many regions in Bangladesh.

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Features

METI Handmade School in Rudrapur Village

Located in Rudrapur village in northern Bangladesh, the METI Handmade School stands as a superb example of what can be achieved when a community works together toward a common goal. The primary school can accommodate 168 students and was built with traditional materials such as bamboo and mud, primarily by local craftsmen, with the help of teachers and students. Recognized for its environmental value, simple beauty, and the level of cooperation between architects, craftsmen, clients and users during the project, the METI Handmade School received the 2007 Aga Khan Award for Architecture.

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Features

Rizwana Hasan – Environmental and Human Rights Advocate

Bangladeshi attorney and environmentalist Syeda Rizwana Hasan was one of the six Ramon Magsaysay Award winners for 2012 for her ongoing work in advocating for the rights of her fellow citizens, particularly relating to the hazardous occupation of ship-breaking. Rizwana Hasan received her award at a ceremony at the Philippine International Convention Center in Pasay City on August 31, with a commendation for her "uncompromising courage and impassioned leadership in a campaign of judicial activism in Bangladesh that affirms the people's right to a good environment as nothing less than their right to dignity and life."

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Features

The Shaheed Zia Smriti Complex in Chittagong

Located in Chittagong, the Shaheed Zia Smriti Complex features replicas of many of the cultural and historical treasures of Bangladesh, as well as information on the heritage and culture of the people who call this fascinating country home. Add to this the beautifully landscaped gardens featuring vegetation indigenous to the county, plus an amusement park complete with Ferris wheel, carousel, kiddies swing and paddle boats, and it is easy to see why the Shaheed Zia Smiriti Complex, often referred to as "Mini Bangladesh", is one of Chittagong's top attractions.

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Features

Blending Architecture with Nature at Nishorgo Oirabot

The Nishorgo Oirabot Nature Interpretation Center, located in the Chittagong Division, aims to promote conservation, eco-tourism and an appreciation for the incredible biodiversity found in this region of Bangladesh. The name Nishorgo is taken from the Bengali word for environment, capturing the main concept of the project, that of cherishing nature and the natural environment. In fulfilling the project's commitment of having as little impact as possible on the environment, the building's concrete slabs are built around existing trees and are supported by structural walls giving the pavilion shelter the impression of floating above the ground.

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Features

Ancient Art of Kite Flying

The Hindu festival of Basant Panchami, also known as Vasanta, is observed on the first day of spring each year, celebrating the renewal of life following the winter months. One of the features of the festival is the ancient art of kite flying, and in Bangladesh, as elsewhere in Asia, the annual Kite Flying Festival has crossed the boundaries of religion to become a secular event enjoyed by all. Starting in mid-January, and continuing through to mid-February, the clear blue skies become dotted with high-flying kites in all shapes, sizes and colors. While the traditional way would be to hand-craft a kite from scratch, stores sell ready-made kites and various kite exhibitions in Bangladesh encourage this age-old form of entertainment enjoyed by kite-handlers and spectators alike.

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