Bidyanondo foundation, a social welfare organisation, set their unique stall at the bookfair and has been huge number of bookworms as the stall introduced unique offer of exchanging medicine for books at its stall at the Bangla Academy premises. Bidyanondo as a volunteer organization mainly works for underprivileged children, gained much appreciation for its “Tk1 meal project”, under which thousands of unprivileged and street children enjoy their meal in exchange of Tk1 only.
Launched in 2013, Bidyanondo currently operates in Dhaka, Chittagong, Narayanganj, Cox’s Bazar, Rajshahi, Rangpur, Mymensingh, and Rajbari. A box full of medicine in front of the Bidyanondo stall caught the attention of visitors of the fair. People stop at the stall inquisitively, to know what this medicine box has to do with the Amar Ekushey Book Fair.
The organization was also accepting laptops and cellphones at its bookstore in exchange for Bidyanondo published books. Sultana Jannat, a Bidyanondo volunteer, said that if a laptop up for exchange is functional, only then the laptop owner could get books to the tune of Tk3000 from the book store, and for a functional cell phone, the trader can have books worth Tk1000.
The laptops being collected will be used for computer labs in remote hilly areas and the cellphones will be sent to remote char areas, tracts of land surrounded by water. The medicines will be used in medical camps. Bookworms said, the books published by Bidyanondo are reasonably priced. “Bidyanondo gives different test to the fair. They goes viral for their unique outstanding social work, I heard many about them. I along with my family came here today to see the stall and buy some book from them. The price also in my afford,” said Mahin Rubel, A father of 7-years-old girl.
Stall Attendance informed Bangladesh Post that, Profits from their book sales will go to children’s welfare projects. Sultana jannat said that the price of the books ranges from as little as Tk25 and the most expensive one is Tk320. Readers are encouraged to have their bags with them as Bidyanondo does not provide shopping bags to keep the workplace clean, and as environmentally friendly as possible.
Bidyanondo is offering various genres of books including fiction, novels, translations, nonfiction, and the authentic Adarshalipi. One of the visitors, Nur Hossain, brought her 3-year-old boy to the fair and handed her a copy of Adarshalipi by Bidyanondo Publications. "I am going to teach my boy the Bangla alphabet from this Adarshalipi. It is as if I am reliving my childhood. I do not see copies of this authentic Adarashalipi in the markets anymore," Nur Hossain said.
Shafat Rahman, father of an 8-year-old, told Bangladesh Post that Bindyanondo is making great strides in its social work. Visiting the book stall, he told this correspondent: "My son stopped at the book stall as he became curious to know why there was a boxful of medicine at a book fair. I had to explain to him in detail that the medicine was to help people who were in need."
"Children learn from what they see around them," he said, adding his son would probably not throw away reusable waste anymore as he has learned that waste material can turn into a beautiful work of art. The store is decorated with reusable waste: plastic bottles, old newspapers, empty medicine wrappers, and electronic scrap, and it looks just as aesthetically pleasing as other book stalls at the fairgrounds.
Our message is: things that are waste for some, can be useful to many, said Jannat. "At least we get to tell visitors about our noble cause when they want to know about our work. Perhaps, someday, they will start making a difference for society and the environment at their own initiative," she added.
Recently, Bidyanondo Foundation goes viral after taking some unique initiative to recycle laminated posters into notebooks, School bags to help the city rid itself of the plastic banners used in the recent Dhaka city polls.