Category Archives: bcsm

22nd National Conference  of Bangladesh Catholic Students Movement

By Alfred D’ Costa

22nd National Conference was organized by Bangladesh Catholic Students’ Movement and was a four day conference held in Lokkhipur, Sylhet. Bangladesh Catholic Students’ Movement is considered by many, the leading students’ movement for educating students about Catholic Social Teaching. The main theme for this year’s National Conference was “Endangered Environment: Youth solidarity for environmental protection, ensuring natural beauty”. I’m a member of Dhaka archdiocese and representatives of Tejgaon BCSM, and I looked forward to the conference, believing that I would learn a lot about the ongoing environmental disasters and as a Catholic student what I could do to protect the world that I live in, the world that we call Home.

The conference itself was directed towards helping BCSM members to achieve the following goals –

  • To educate everyone the concept of climate change
  • To make them understand the consequences of global warming
  • To inspire everyone to make a stand against climate change
  • To help members to cooperate with students from all over the country
  • To raise awareness among everyone about the vicious effects of climate change
  • To make students “Think globally, work locally.”

The conference had a good response, with over 130 participants, the executive committee tried to involve the participants in the conference as much as possible. Throughout the conference, there were many demonstrations and activities for us to do.

All over, I was very much happy with the conference, as it met positive expectations I had before coming. Although the conference had a few weakness and several strengths, overall there were three aspects that attracted me making it a successful experience. Firstly the conference had highly qualified speakers who had provided us important information and knowledge about the climate change and what could we do about it as a student from our place. The resource persons were very much proactive in making the participants more involved in the sessions. Secondly the conference provided us the opportunity not only to attend sessions or to have discussions but also in allowing us go on exposures and meeting indigenous people face to face, knowing about their everyday life and their connection with environment as they live surrounded by nature and use natural elements in their day to day lives. The participants and me personally love this sort of field work as it helped us to be more involved in our activities and helped us to learn even more for why climate change is so dangerous for the world that we live in. Thirdly, the conference gave all the participants the platform to stand up and speak in front of everyone to eradicate the shyness that holds them back. And the proactive, informative sessions allowed the participants interact with BCSM members from all over the country and that they could learn how the Movement is performing all over the country.

The presence of Cardinal Patrick D’ Rozario and his wise words in the session greatly inspired me to work more precisely for the society that we live in. His sharing proved to be very much successful as the participants took it very seriously and promised to do whatever necessary to protect the our planet Earth, our Home. The great thing about the conference was that the speakers who took the session classes gave us information on objective data of the main theme rather than the speaker’s personal experience. This helped the participants to learn the abstract concepts and ensuring the understanding of concepts and facts.

The presence of Mr. Ravi Tissera, IMCS APC Coordinator, enriched the value of the conference highly. His sharing about IMCS and it’s work were very much helpful as many of the participants didn’t have any idea about IMCS before the conference. And the conference personally helped me to build up a good relationship with Mr. Ravi and was provided with a lot of ideas of how I could improve my activities in BCSM unit. The likes of Mr. Shamsul Momen Polash, Mr. Kazi Anis. Major General John Gomes greatly inspired all the participants with their magnificent sharing. They presented us data and facts about climate change in Bangladesh and the dangers of it, how we can raise our voices and show everyone the violence on environment through social media and various news portals, as Catholic student what should be our duties, how could we work for the environment from our place and many more things.

Each participants were given the opportunity to express their thoughts and ideas of how they can work to protect the nature and uniqueness of biodiversity. The conference provided the key facts of climate change and how we can work on it to stop it. And the primary concept was to aware the participants so that they could raise awareness among everyone in their own society about the affects of climate change. The idea was very successful as everyone including our diocese was committed for the implementation of the facts that we learned from the conference. The cultural programs basing on the culture of indigenous people were very delightful to watch and the football match at the last day of the conference was very refreshing.

There were very few weaknesses such as time management could have been a bit better even though that very much depended on the arrival of the participants timely. In some parts, the sessions got too much informative and as a result participants got a bit bored. More exposures could’ve been added because that interested me and all the participants the most.

The whole conference was very effective and successful in my opinion. The different sessions and sharing from successful, wise and creative educators widely kept me interested throughout the four day conference and made me come to know about many things and facts about the environment that I didn’t know of. I always enjoy being around other movement members who as well work the welfare and betterment of the society. I learned a great deal of new things about what activities I can do in my own unit and diocese for the environment. I was reminded the importance of mother nature, why it is important to protect from the greedy industrialization society, who only thrive for money and for themselves. In a whole, this conference inspired me to work even more hardly for our BCSM and always try to be a part of it. This conference will help me to work on a goal to protect the environment, the biodiversity and the beauty of it. Solidarity among everyone is the only way to stop the vicious effects of climate change. If all of us can stand together make our actions speak louder than words, we can surely fill the world with greenery that she used to have and protect it’s unique biodiversity. I hope we can use all these information that we’ve gathered from this conference and implement in our unit. Our small steps could turn into a huge change in our goal of protecting the planet.

I thank and congratulate the executive committee of BCSM for arranging this inspiring, informative, productive and successful 22nd National Conference. I believe we can go much further in working for the society if we keep going like this. I learned a great deal from this conference and plan on to keep on working for BCSM in the coming days and hope everyone else will also work on the proper implementation of what they have learned from this conference.

A Reflection on IMCS Spiritualty

Session on IMCS SPIRITUALITY
By Ruki Furnando, Lay Chaplain, IMCS AP

A Reflection on IMCS Spirituality by William Nokrek, BCSM

The session on IMCS SPIRITUALITY was held at CBCB, Mohammadpur on 1st September organized by Dhaka Archdiocesan BCSM. The session was held to let the students know about the IMCS and spirituality that are followed by IMCS. Ruki Fernando who was the former Asian coordinator of IYCS and the present lay chaplain of IMCS AP did this session.

According to Ruki, IMCS has its own spirituality. There are three identities and three major concerns. On the identity, the movement is a part of student milieu (at the tertiary education level), part of church and part of society. We need to reflect as Catholics what are impact that we have on society. We should be concerned about what is happening in Bangladesh, irrespective whether they are Catholics or students. All the student movements have their uniqueness.  There are many pros and cons in involving other communities in the Catholic movements. Impact of politics on different movements and all were discussed.

Catholic Social Teachings (CST) and other gospel teachings should be politicized and also we should spiritualize the politics. Christianity is about doing the difficult tasks. The path to heaven is not that easy, we need to suffer a lot. Forgiveness depends on the context and relationship; and it is a two way passage- the person forgiving and person asking for it. Forgiving is not an act of weakness, it’s an act of strength. Reconciliation should be done and the person should think about the wrongdoings he has done and acknowledge it. Later he should confess and thus reintegrate back to the society and aim for getting back a new life. The idea of imprisonment is not revenge rather rehabilitation. The highest law is the God’s law. The spirituality should be at the heart of the issues pertaining to politics, society and law etc. We should work with other community of students. Dialogues with the poor, the people from other cultures and people from other faiths/religions are major concerns of Federation of Asian Bishop Conference (FABC).

IMCS AP’s objectives includes student’s responsibilities in Church Mission and the world, working for justice and peace. This is done by witnessing Christian faith, methodologically integrating the Christian faith, building just society, promoting multi-cultural realities in Asia Pacific. IMCS is spiritually inspired by CST and the Gospel and it believes in the spirituality of action which says, “Faith without action is dead”.  We should live up to the social teaching by practicing it. Implementation should be done in our life through our actions. Jesus came to proclaim good news for people and freedom to captivated people. The three main message is Love your God, love yourself and love your neighbor including loving the creations of God, where we should not harm the creations. The way to enter heaven is to serve the people in whom God resides. Working for the people is to work for God Himself. We need to care for them as it says in Matthew 25:41-46. There is no point in just being religious and sharing the offerings and do no good works and serve justice. We need to be just full and righteous and Treat everyone equally as all of us are children of God.

The session ended by asking ourselves, how to build ourselves? Nourishment to spirituality comes from prayer and community who supports us. IMCS preaches the justice and preferential option for the poor. Preferential option for the poor means the equality in the eye of the laws. The people should get equal rights. The session on IMCS spirituality which was conducted by Ruki Fernando was very informative and encouraging to the students. The president of BCSM, Mr. William Nokrek and Secretary Mr. Shoshi Peris were present in the session along with other EC members of BCSM and  45 Members from 3 units of Dhaka BCSM were present here.

 

Hope to see a Non-communal, Developed and Humane World

Hope to see a non-communal, developed and humane world

By William Nokrek – BCSM

Indonesia is the darling child of a nature-a country filled with lush greenery, a variety of flowers and scenic beauty. An assortment of different communities, languages, and culture has made Indonesia diverse. According to my opinion- diversity, unity and tolerance are the components that make Indonesia beautiful. In fact, the Constitution of this country has introduced it in this way. The theme of Indonesian constitution is “unity is beauty”. I really like this saying.  Another wise man has aptly said, “Diversity is a beauty.”  I have been fascinated by this beauty of Indonesia. I am in love with it.  Truly, I am in love with Indonesia.

I never thought I would be able to go to Indonesia and then all on a sudden, this opportunity landed on me through IMCS Asia Pacific. Asian Youth Academy and Theology Forum, taking the theme “Asian Youth, Champion for Building a New World: Centering on Peace, Sustainable Developments, Ecological Justice” organized a summit with the participation of 13 countries in Jakarta, from 22nd-31st July. I felt a huge jolt of excitement when I heard I would be able to participate this time as well since this would be my second time. Got to meet many old faces and be friend many new ones! Was able to meet and interact with Alban, John and Neilan from IMCS India, Thomson, Mathilda and Ekarista from IMCS Indonesia and Ashique from IMCS Pakistan and was able to learn so much from everyone! This opportunity is a blessing for me, my family and my nation. Because once the program is over, I have to back to my roots. And when I do, hopefully, I will be able to translate the lessons from such experiences into my work.

Asian Youth Academy and Theology Forum organizes this outstanding training every year. This event is led by a former member of IMCS, Dr. Paul Hwang. The way he is dedicating himself to work for the growth of Asia is surely praiseworthy. We are undoubtedly grateful to him for his contribution. This event plays a vital role in grooming the future leaders of Asia. Another person whose name must be mentioned and without whom this event would not have been a success is Ms. Felicia Dian. We first met in 2012, in Dhaka, at the Asia Pacific Council of IMCS. This wonderful woman always wears a smile on her face, despite our constant disturbances. We keep bothering her for this and that and she, selflessly, keeps catering to our needs like a candle that burns itself to enlighten others.

I was not supposed to attend this event although I am the President of the National Executive Committee of BCSM.  Shoshi Sylvester Peris and George Lincoln Roy were supposed to represent Bangladesh. This opportunity came to us through the current coordinator of Asia Pacific Bangladesh, Mr. Ravi Tiserra, the man who is constantly fighting to rebuild IMCS AP. He gave me the opportunity to represent IMCS AP, I am grateful to him. Salute to you boss.

21st July 2017. My heart was racing with excitement. A day earlier, I came back finishing exposure with the Youth Commission at Kolkata. I was mentally prepared to gain new experience. As usual, at the airport, I stood in the queue to get my boarding pass. Transit was in Malaysia. Many Bangladeshis travel to Malaysia in search of work. Saw a teary eyed son, bidding farewell to his father there- a scene that broke my heart. I couldn’t help thinking about that guy, how he is journeying towards the unknown, how he doesn’t know what awaits for him there. Even after such uncertainties, many people take this path. I have read in the newspapers how many people sell off everything just so they can make this journey; they do so hoping better future, a little bit more happiness for them and their families. But do they really find? We learn about their situation and struggle from daily news- when their unlucky dead body comes back to country, fugitive by terrorists or when they rot in jails at abroad for being “illegal”. While waiting in the queue, I observed that the man gives boarding pass was misbehaving with these people. He was yelling at them every now and then. Although the hard work of these so called “petty” laborers are the source of his salary. I guess this is how the powerful always oppress the weak.

We discussed on many issues in the program. Sustainable development was one of the vital issues that we have discussed. We discussed a lot on this topic. We all are human being. But till today we couldn’t be a complete human. We are still holding inequity, that inequity is devouring the world. If this inequity persist, than sustainable development is not possible. One will have better share, while another would’nt even get the slightest amount- this inequity should not exist in the society. The world should belong equal to everyone. I don’t know the present condition of that person, last i met at airport. Let us pray that migrant workers like that brother might live well, may they get their right salary. Let their family smile like the brightest star in the sky. The persons who are working day and night for these migrant working people is none other than former IMCS coordinator Adrian Pereira. Salute to you guys. Best wishes for you and your work. Let the deprived working people earn, what is right to them.

After reaching Indonesia we stood in immigration line for the visa.  The duty officer asked what the purpose of our arrival was. After knowing that I have come to attend a program, he asked me about the type of program. After all the interrogation they made us wait in a room. The room was filled up with Bangladeshi people. Only one or some else were from other Country. The others, who stood in the immigration with us was from Argentina, Brazil. England. But they didn’t have to face any sort of interrogation. I do believe that, every country has their own laws if there is a necessity for questioning anyone for the security of the country they must do it. The law should be equal for everyone irrespective of caste creed nation. But people from other Country didn’t have to sit in the waiting room, this rule is only for the Bangladeshi people. There’s a song of Vupen Hazarika that states, “can you give me a white person with white blood or a black person with black blood?” We are all from the same world. But Alas, till now we could’nt  be one/ rules and laws are not same for all.

We discussed sustainable development, human rights, women rights, world peace, environment and all. But untill discrimination doesn’t end, world peace can never be introduced.
Novelist Samaresh Mazumder, in one of his novels, stated that “The routes are much better than the destination.” The reports of different countries and sessions of many intellectuals, made me realize that we are still on our route. We still need a lot of time to reach our destination. I believe if the youth of all nations work together for the overall development, then we are not far away from our destination. Then, the word DISCRIMINATION would vanish from the world some day. Because youth are the representatives of positive change. It is said, the darker the night becomes, the closer the morning comes. A new sun will start a new day. Let’s hope for the bright day to come soon.
Durring exposure, we realized the true beauty and diversity of Indonesia. We went to Temangung for exposure. Their we gather knowledge on a project of 4 social entrepreneurs. They built up the environment-friendly farm, bamboo bike, wooden radio mill and organic coffee garden, organic agriculture farm. They are now socially established by dint of their hard work. Bamboo bike and wooden radio have huge public demand. They have become self-sufficient by arranging a social market where they meet every 4 months, have traditional foods and enjoy among themselves. They are protecting their own culture with a strong hand, which is a very hard task to do. I was amazed to see the organic farm and organic coffee farm. Everyone except them uses insecticides and fertilizers. They use the organic process to grow their products. School going students learn these techniques of farming from them. Inded they are preparing their future generation for this project. While visiting these projects I felt the necessity to do something like this in my native land. Though this is quite challenging in a country like Bangladesh, I am trying my level best to do something. If not successful, at least I can say, “I tried”. I discovered a new self, found a new energy.

We have discussed sustainable development, human rights, women rights, world peace, environment, future youth leadership and all. We thought about how to build a new better world combining the youth all over the world. Because the word DISCRIMINATION is devouring us. Human Rights activist and columnist, the indigenous leader Sanjib Drong often says a word while discussing about discrimination, “Would the child born in Kandahar in Afghanistan and the child born in Amsterdam in Netherlands have the same facilities to grow up?” after United Nations took the plan of SDG 2030, a slogan has become quite popular –“Leave no one behind”. But this is the thing happening in the world, But we want to see non-communal, developed and humane world, where everyone will live in peace and harmony enjoying equal rights. There’s a song to the God, “make me your messenger of peace”. We the youths being united can work with this motto together and build the world full of love and unity.

 

BCSM Christian Leadership and Capacity Building Training 2017

“It’s the Youth who should work for the change

– Rev Bishop Shorot Francis Gomes, Auxiliary Bishop of Dhaka Archdiocese.

In his speech as the chief guest Rev Bishop Shorot Francis Gomes told in the certificate distribution program of 4 days long ‘National Leadership Training -2017’ Programme that, it is the youth who should work for the change. At one stage the youth should take the responsibilities of the society.

Directing the youth he said, “From here and now on you, the youth will go back and lead the family, church and society in the good path.”
Just like every year Bangladesh Catholic Student’s Movement (BCSM) and Episcopal Commission for Youth have jointly organized the National Leadership Training -2017 with the co-operation from Caritas Development Institute (CDI) at CDI center in Dhaka from 24th to 28th March, 2017.

Post SSC SharingThe closing ceremony was presided by William Nokrek, the President of  BCSM. Bro Ujjal Placid Pereira CSC (Chaplain of BCSM and National youth Coordinator), Sr Runu Mrong CSC (Office Secretary of Episcopal Commission for youth), and Khurshida Khanom (CDI representative and Course coordinator) were present as the Special Guests.

In his welcome speech Bro Ujjal Placid Pereira said, “Our leadership training program will be successful only when you all learn to take your own responsibilities.”

In the closing speech president of BCSM, William Nokrek said, “Let us spread the learnings we gained from here to our family, society and the church. Let us work together for the overall progress of the society. It is possible for the better progression of the country and all only if we, the youth work together hand in hand.”

Shawon Alfred Cruze (Secretary General, BCSM), Jenevi Stella Rozario (Organizing secretary, BCSM), Shoshi Sylvester Peris (Treasurer, BCSM), George Lincoln Roy (EC Member, BCSM), Jerry Hagidok (Office correspondent), Probir Costa were also present in the Closing Ceremony.

40 students participated in this training program from 8 diocese of Bangladesh. This program is mainly organized for the animators and grassrooe level leaders. There were sessions on Expectation and objectives sharing distribution of group responsibilities, setting norms, Concept, functions, approaches of Management and leadership, Dimensions of  leadership, Assertive communicationskills in managing leadership, Leaders maintaining the human rights bearing  the Christian Values, Seven habits of an effective leader Importance of team building in organizational  management Problem solving and decision making process of a leader, Christian Leadership in environmental and cultural diversity, Leadership in national level  bearing  the Christian Values.

NSI – BCSM Exchange Forum on Human Rights

On the 11 th of December 2016, Adrian Pereira, the former IMCS AP coordinator(2007-2009) had an opportunity to share his experience of working in the field of Human Rights with Bangladesh Catholic Students Movement (BCSM).BCSM is the Bangladeshi affiliate of IMCS AP(please add full form) The programme took place at The Catholic Bishops' Conference Of Bangladesh and was organized by the BCSM president, William Nokrek and his committee. Adrian , who hails from Malaysia currently runs a social justice consortium called the North South Initiative(NSI) which is based in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia. Adrian came to Bangladesh to be part of the Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD) civil society initiatives as invited by his partners, Migrant Forum in Asia(MFA).

During the his sharing with the students , various human rights related topics emerged such as Islamophobia, racism ,poverty, fundamentalism, migration, gender justice, minority issues, the Rohingyas, Bangladeshi liberation history and Pakistan- Bangladesh relationship. As Catholics in Bangladesh are minority, Adrian challenged the Catholic students to break out of their victim and minority complex as it hindered their growth and full potential. Even though they are minority(0.3%) in a country of almost 160 million, Bangladeshi Catholics have a lot of privileges to enjoy such as better private education in missionary schools, opportunities to study abroad with scholarships, and affiliation to movements like Pax Romana and Caritas. And at the same time, it was vital for Bangladeshi Catholics to think twice before leaving the country as migrant workers to avoid brain drain and to ensure that there is a continuous leadership to guide the future generations of BCSM leaders. Adrian also said that to give space for women leaders to progress in Bangladesh, the men must vacate their leadership to ensure women have a boost.

Adrian thanked the BCSM leaders , especial their president, Mr William for the opportunity to raise challenging topics related to human rights. He hopes that BCSM will continue the discussions on human rights and even organize more human rights training for the local Bangladeshi students. During his stay, Adrian also got the opportunity to meet and exchange ideas with the past presidents and secretaries of BCSM, the Caritas Bangladesh leadership, Action for Catholic Professionals, Future Watch Movement, the Dhaka BCSM Chaplain, the Catholic Youth Commission and others. Adrian wishes that the Catholic Church of Bangladesh continue to be a beacon of hope and justice, not just to Catholics, but to other citizens in Bangladesh.And for this to happen, the Catholic Church in Bangladesh must network and build solidarity with many other progressive groups in Bangladesh and globally. Adrian can be contacted at liberationx@gmail.com.

SILVER JUBILEE OF BCSM

Under the theme “Invocating Christian Leadership Service and Mercy” Bangladesh Catholic Students Movement has celebrated their 25th anniversary  on 13-14 October,2016 at CBCB (Cathoilic Bishops Conference of Bangladesh) center in the capital city Dhaka.

The first cardinal of Bangladesh Archbishop Patrick D Rozario CSC, Apostolic Nuncio to Bangladesh Archbishop George Kocherry, chairman of Episcopal youth Commission Bishop Lawrence Subrato Hawlader CSC, IMCS General Secretary Ms. Evelina Manola and IMCS Asia Pacific Coordinator Mr. Ravi Tissera joined with the Bangladeshi students to celebrate the memorable milestone of the Bangladesh Catholic Students Movement.